In the midst of Vietnam War, in its confusion and gorilla style warfare, Capitan Benjamin L. Willard is sent on a confidential mission to find and terminate a former Colonel of an US army. An already troubled mind of Capitan Willard encounters all so disturbing sides of Vietnam War.
“Apocalypse Now”, from the opening shot of the film it’s obvious that you are about to witness something great and spectacular. The whole film lives up to that first feeling, as it is a truly a phenomenal movie throughout.
The real war that lasted for more then 15 years and killed over 4 million people, had a huge impact on generations, mentally and physically, leaving us with history, mistakes to be learned from, as well as some of the most memorable films, music, photographs, books, TV shows, to date.
“Apocalypse Now”, conveys a truly disturbing, freshly raw, dangerous, bloody, inhumane and crazy war that Vietnam war was, as we follow Capitan Benjamin L. Willard on his classified mission.
The only tough thing was to sit for almost three hours in one spot to witness this greatness. But by the end of the original version I was tempted to see the directors cut (around 5 hours long), and fully observe what Francis Ford Coppola had in mind, as in my opinion it is his best work as a director and stands amongst the best films of all times.
Martin Sheen, an actor with more then 200 films and TV role credits, who plays Capitan Benjamin L. Willard in “Apocalypse Now”, gives a bright and wonderful performance. His character, crashed by the darkness of war was portrayed by Martin in a very subtle and perfect way, or just what was needed to make this performance as real as possible. It wouldn’t appear that he was never a soldier. His actions and dialogue delivered in a controlled way, as intended for this character, mostly showing the pain of a lost and confused mind of a soldier through the expression in his eyes. Rare and remarkable for any actor to do.
It will be fair to say that this lengthy film is a one actor show. Even the great Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall, amongst many other supporting role characters, were only there for the story and for Martin Sheens’ character to interact. Never the less, all give a wonderful performance.
Just as a side not, Martin Sheen did suffer a major heart attack during filming of “Apocalypse Now”.
It’s also very interesting the way the whole film flows. It literally flows on a US military boat for the majority of the movie. The film starts out in a relatively nice bedroom (relatively to the situation and time the character is in), but as the action within the film transport us to the boat that is going down the river, so does the whole humanity and civilized life which start to vanish to an unfamiliar world of war, until we reach the end, the Apocalypse Now monumental stone.
The end though, a bit slow and confusing made me feel and realize the progression of human mind and will in life and especially at war, because of this unusual symbolism that was used.
Something should also be said about the sound and editing of this film. As much as this film is about humanity and inhumanity, life and death, etc., this film is also about the greatness of classical and modern cinematic work. The songs and music score that were so carefully chosen, as well as every single smallest detail in sound design and mixing, played a crucial part in making this film be as real as possible. And the editing, one of the toughest jobs in film making, was done splendidly, making you forget that you are watching a pre cut film, but rather a continues shot and story that you are witnessing with your own eyes. It cuts as well, as a knife through butter.
This long but action packed film, with great historical relevance, epic cinematography, great acting, superb directing, and massive scale production accumulated to a truly Apocalyptic film of the past century. It’s a must see and a must experience motion picture.