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Apocalypse Now

going a slightly different direction than i'd planned. this one has been weighing on my mind recently

every man gets what he wants

Apocalypse Now
(Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

During the U.S.-Viet Nam War,
Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia
to assassinate a renegade colonel
who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe


Most are familiar with the horror story that was the making of Apocalypse Now... Francis Ford Coppola almost lost his mind, Martin Sheen almost died from a heart attack while filming, Marlon Brando showed up to the set in the Philippines without reading the script or the book it was based upon, Heart of Darkness. It took 3 years before they finally finished the film

the synth score piece, composed by Francis' father Carmine Coppola, (which i've provided at the bottom of this post) ... combined with the imagery below, produces my favorite transition i've seen in the movies. this transition of course precedes one of the great uses of music in film, Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. yet somehow i'm more impressed by this visual transition and the accompanying synth score moreso than the Wagner

it never feels like a war documentary or something. it is cinematic, pure cinematic, and i love that about it

You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours
when it was all over, i walked up. we didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body
the smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. smelled like ... victory

Conclusion: I do think the third act is a bit weaker than the first two... yet for me, the sheer audacity and scope of the movie overcomes that. people just don't go to these lengths to make a film. it's so ambitious and on the edge. it's not like it's shot on some backlot or in some studio... with the director and crew casually lounging around luxuriously in the air conditioning in a comfy chair with their cups of coffee, etc. they went into the jungle, into the wild. And afterwards Coppola scaled back his ambitions when it came to the scope of his movies... and it's pretty safe to say he never came close to anything in the ballpark of Apocalypse Now again... yet with this picture, he shed light on a compellingly ambitious visionary style of storytelling

9.0 / 10