The Screen Room
Apocalypse Now (1979)
This week I ticked yet another huge film off my “films I should’ve seen by now but haven’t” list:
Apocalypse Now (1979)
I should start by saying that much like gangster films, the whole Vietnam/War genre isn’t my go to genre.
That said, I really enjoyed this movie!
Going in I didn’t really know what to expect. This viewing was prompted by a friend of mine sending me a link to an article about the crazy shenanigans that went on behind the scenes during filming - having not seen the film though, I didn’t think it was right for me to share the link on this page before I could relate to it’s content (I’ll post that link later).
Like a few other films I’ve seen recently, this one took a little while to grab me. I could tell right from the start that it was going to be an experience and I kept reminding myself that, at the very least it was educational and must be worth sticking with based on the epic status it’s garnered since it’s release the year I was born. It was.
There’s a lot I liked about this movie!
The pace, the realism, the humour (surf crazy Robert Duvall, flying around in a chopper more interested in the waves than the bullets being fired at him), the soundtrack, the cinematography - and when it eventually gets to it, Marlon Brando’s performance (Dennis Hopper stole the show for me though) 👌.
I also didn’t realise it starred Harrison Ford and a very young and skinny Lawrence Fishburne! 🤯
I’m not that well educated on the Vietnam war but I am aware that it was by all accounts horrifying for all concerned.
Other than the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan (1998) I don’t think I’ve seen another film that puts across the horrors of war as well as this one.
Reading the article my friend sent me just before watching the film actually made the whole thing more enjoyable because I was aware of certain things that movie goers wouldn’t have been when it was originally released.
If I had to make one criticism it would be that I found Martin Sheen’s performance a bit weak compared to the rest of the cast. I like him as an actor but the quality of the supporting cast was so high that considering he was the main character, I just didn’t 100% believe that he was the hardened war veteran he was meant to be.
I’m being picky of course, still it’s the one thing that kept niggling throughout the film.
After watching Taxi Driver for the first time recently and being slightly disappointed, it’s a relief to have watched another iconic movie and be able to say that I enjoyed it and that I totally get what all of the fuss is about.
Whether war films are your thing or not, if you call yourself a film fan you have an obligation to watch this movie just for its quotable lines, historical significance and epic status in the world of cinema.
“Charlie don’t surf”