Apocalypse Now (1979)


After the (Y) machine took a festive break, the wheels are again starting to turn. To ring in the New Year, I’m going to be telling you about each of my ten favourite movies. it’s been harder than expected to elucidate my feelings on these films, usually “just watch the damn thing” is more effective than a series of ridiculous superlatives, but here goes. I hope you enjoy!

It’s my opinion that Kubrick is the greatest director to have ever lived. When you recall any genre and the superlative film that exemplifies said genre, it’s always one of his. But when it came to the Vietnam movie, his Full Metal Jacket was 8 years late to the party. Not only had Francis Ford Coppola made a better Vietnam film, nor just a better film. FFC made the best film.

The reason I hold Apocalypse Now in such high regard is it’s magnitude. Everything about it is bigger than everything else. It’s a film at once operatic and Rock ’n’ Roll. The opening sequence set to The Door’s The End is as iconic as any image in the filmic pantheon. It’s production value sits unparalleled thanks to a huge budget, a 400 day shoot and those long lost arts; practical effects and analogue film.

It’s blockbuster size is matched by it’s phantasmagoric aura. It’s more deep and complex than any movie of it’s size and deals not only with the horrors of war but also drugs, philosophy, and via Brando’s legendary, kooky performance – poetry.

To excuse the cliche for a moment, it is an experience more than a movie. Just as Coppola’s strenuous shooting schedule, tarnished by fat actors and hurricanes turned from a war movie film shoot to a genuine 400 day battle, so does the viewing experience. You get in that boat with Captain Willard and you go up that river to Kurtz’s compound. When you come out the other end, you won’t be the same.

– Oliver Drew

Ollie sketch91


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