Apocalypse Now, often called Francis Ford Coppola’s last great movie, almost never got made, because of shooting delays and overshoot of budget; fortunately for us, Coppola somehow managed pool in his money and got it done. The film’s dazzling and hallucinatory opening sequence – images of napalm bombing juxtaposed with Martin Sheen’s Capt. Willard suffering in a sweaty, sleazy hotel room, with The Door’s mesmerizing “The End” ironically playing in the background – has attained legendary status. The plot concerns Willard being sent on a clandestine mission to Cambodia to assassinate Kurtz, a brilliant renegade Colonel who, the army top brass feels, has gone insane. A harrowing portrait of the Vietnam War and a nightmarish vision of the characters’ psychoses and their collective descent into madness, the film is less about the actual assassination and more about Willard’s life-altering Odyssey and his growing obsession with Kurtz. Martin Sheen is amazing as the moody, laconic and emotionally detached Willard. The film also boasts of two terrific supporting roles in the form of Robert Duval’s psychotic, Wagner-loving Col. Kilgore, and Dennis Hopper’s crazy photojournalist who worships Kurtz as if he were god. Unfortunately, Marlon Brando doesn’t really manage to live up to the electric buildup that his character (Kurtz) is given in the first three-quarters of the film.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola Genre: War Epic/Adventure Language: English Country: US