Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola

Few movies have generated an opinion as unanimous as Apocalypse Now: everybody loves this movies, but few people really know why. Anti-war people like Apocalypse Now because they think it has an anti-war message, while other people think its plot is basically a glorification of violence. In fact, Apocalypse Now is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. It is unclear what is Coppola's intended message with this movie, but I'd like to think that he's only trying to portray war "as it is": soldiers executing orders and just trying to go back home. Remarkably, international politics is mostly absent in the original movie (the 2001 Redux does include discussions on politics and colonialism).

Another remarkable thing of Apocalypse Now is its music: The Doors, the Rolling Stones and Wagner are the main stars.

I recommend Apocalypse Now because it's become a cultural icon, but I have to acknowledge that I still haven't digested it; I will probably have to watch it 2 or 3 times before I get the entire message. The "first act" is great, mixing Catch-22 like scenes with dark humor and (at the time) extremely violent scenes, all of which result in an excellent portrait of the ridiculousness of war. The "second act" is, I think, a failed psychological thriller: we still see an photographer (thoday, he'd be an NGO-kind-of guy) gone mad worshipping a serial killer, but there are some redundant silences and scenes.

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