All throughout film history, there have been war movies. It is safe to say that the two most covered conflicts are World War II and the Vietnam War. I understand that I’ve grown up in North America, and the majority of these films have been centred around American participation in these conflicts.
Apocalypse Now is one of the most famous and longest movies about the Vietnam War. Headlined by a star-studded cast, Apocalypse Now takes into the deep woods and waters of Vietnam. This film takes you to the front lines. Still, it also showcases the psychological effect the war has taken on the soldiers and the American military leaders, all beautifully narrated by our main character, Captain Benjamin Willard, played by Martin Sheen.
The story follows Willard as he returns to the war on a special mission, to kill one of his high ranking superiors. Colonel Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando) has been deep in the conflict so long, taking thousands of lives with his men, that he now thinks he’s a God. Even I would admit, with no combat experience, that being entrenched in the war for so long, that mind would probably end turning on me as well.
I understand that this movie is one of the great war movies of all-time. I’ve seen a lot of them and to this day don’t have a clear cut favourite. All I can say now after watching Apocalypse Now is this wouldn’t be one of them. I thought this movie was so boring that I fell asleep at one point. The beginning starts with a bang when Williard is part of a bombing on a small village, lead by Robert Duvall’s character, Colonel Ben Kilgore. After that, there is a whole lot of boat riding, some moments of action, and a whole lot of filler about life in the swamps.
This film is more about the war’s psychological side than the intense warfare we’ve become accustomed to in other epic films. There is no denying why this film is so fondly looked upon. You can’t take away the amazing cinematography and character development. Apocalypse Now is meant to be a slow burn, enjoyed for storytelling instead of blowing you away with explosion after explosion. Truly, this particular film won’t be for everyone.
Filmed less than a decade after the American withdrew from Vietnam, Apocalypse Now is one of the genre’s greatest productions. You’ll find fans across every generation who applaud their efforts to be a masterpiece. I just didn’t feel the same vibes as everyone else. 5/10