Monday, 19 October 2015

Review: Apocalypse Now

I can't believe I haven't seen…

Apocalypse Now Poster

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Cert: 15 / 147 mins / Dir. Francis Ford Coppola / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

Oh, so that's where the samples in Ministry's N.W.O. come from! Yes, after years of putting-off, I finally watched Francis Ford Coppola's tour de force (albeit the two-and-a-half-hour theatrical print), going in completely blind. And while I know a fair amount of it probably didn't sink in, I'm certainly glad this first viewing was 'clean', other than the years of people recommending it to me.

And there was me thinking that The Long Good Friday was all out of fucks to give; Coppola captures the madness of war to the point where he feels The Horror is more of an afterthought, if anything. Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando all excel themselves*1, and while the film is exquisitely assembled, the 'difficult production' comes through tonally, with a sense of disquieted isolation throughout that you know was intentional, but was helped on its way all the same. This is offset with some stunning photography courtesy of Vittorio Storaro's sunrise-and-rotor-blade loving camera, and the infamous and self-indulgent Wagnerian soundtrack. That said, I could have done without the accompaniment from The Doors, but that's just me.

Above everything though, is the feeling that a single sitting can't do justice to the film; that as a piece of art, it will take far longer to fully appreciate than its run-time. Alternate versions and background-reading now beckon, although I have no idea when I'm going to slot those in.

But hey, I've broken the seal, right..?

Have you really never seen this before?
It's been one of those movies which is too 'big' to watch casually. And since the majority of my movie-watching is inherently and unapologetically casual, no, I haven't.

So are you glad you've finally have?
I am.

And would you recommend it, now?
I would, but it can't be watched in a hurry.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard, but I'm sure one of you lovely lot can put me right on that one?

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Well, Harrison Ford's in it (as Colonel Lucas, no less) so I guess that's close enough, right?.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Apart from Brando's muffled-yet-nasel vocal-delivery, of course. No seriously, it's bloody ridiculous. How the hell am I supposed to take the monster seriously when he sounds like he's about to ask for 'a second class return to Nottingham, please'?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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