Apocalypse Now (Redux)

apocalypse now 2

Why have I not seen this film before?!! Why did I let it languish on my list for so long?? This has to be one of the best movies I have ever seen (for now anyway – I can’t actually remember what the other ‘best movies I have ever seen’ are… Million Dollar Baby?).

If you haven’t seen Apocalypse Now, stop reading and start watching. Let it wash over you in all it’s goodness and be appalled at the same time because there is no other movie that captures, quite as well, the futility of war and the horror of the Vietnam. Yes, ‘the horror’…

There are so many pop culture references I get now too. Obviously I knew that napalm smells good in the morning but all the other The Simpsons etc moments that will make so much more sense… it’s funny realising these things in reverse.

The movie, however, is not funny. Martin Sheen puts in an amazing effort. That guy can act but I wish he looked less like his boy. Seeing Charlie Sheen’s mug staring out at you certainly takes you out of the moment. Luckily Martin’s hair gets limper throughout and the moments were less and less.

I wish I could write down better how this film made me feel. Every scene played out like a joke. Awful war scenes punctuated by surfing, smoking and guitar playing. Who could do that? But there’s the horror isn’t it? Act crazy or go crazy. I’m pretty sure there are entire theses out there about this movie. The slow trek up the river further from the American safe zones and further into out of control war and further into madness. By the time Martin makes it up the river he is in the heart of crazy and there we meet the king of crazy, Mr Marlon Brando.

Apparently his voice has been cleaned up in this version and he is easier to understand than in the original version. Again, this guy can act. He is the very soul of logical madness. So clever, so clear, so aware of everything that is happening to him, including his heavy dose of the crazies.

I’m kind of left wondering what ‘(redux)’ means but I think it just means really long with sound cleaned up. The bloke watching it with me, otherwise know as my husband, crashed part way through it. I think it went for three hours. There was a whole scene with a French family which apparently wasn’t in it before. I can see why it was cut but it was also a really good scene which actually talked about the futility of the Vietnam War and the pointlessness (in the end) for the Americans to be involved. A fraught topic I understand and one I know little about, so I’ll leave it there.

Also Martin got a little sexy time with a French lady which made me feel a little better about everything he was going through because at least he got some lovin’…

I thought about Apocalypse Now for days afterwards, it was that layered and dripping with meaning. I just kept realising more about what had happened each day. What a film! I think the word is ‘haunting’.

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5 thoughts on “Apocalypse Now (Redux)

  1. Redux is the not the original version of Apocalypse Now. The theatrical version did not include the visit to the French plantation or the pyschedelic trip with the Playboy bunnies. Both were cut to help speed the movie along toward Kurtz. It helps the movie stay truer to the vision of the book it was inspired by, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, in the idea that as you move up the river toward Kurtz, you move further and further away from modern civilization and more toward the primitive, primal origins of man. And while I’m a huge fan of AN and was pleased to see Redux, the original theatrical cut works better with that fat trimmed.

  2. Great movie indeed. I’m not sure about the extra scenes and if they added too much though. You should check out a documentary called Hearts of Darkness ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearts_of_Darkness:_A_Filmmaker%27s_Apocalypse ) about the production.

    Ellie, you know those movies you saw ages ago and then you rewatch them again and go “My god, that was a brilliant film”…Good the Bad and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West…..damned fine films. I know they are on your list… :p

    • I was just reading about those two in the classic releases section of the Empire mag yesterday and looking forward to seeing them. Seminal movies by the sounds of it. It’s really quite interesting how much Apocalypse Now has become a cultural touchstone. I imagine those two are the same in terms of referencing in popular culture.

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