Based on the superb novel Heart of Darkness (1902) by Joseph Conrad, Apocalypse Now is surely one of cinema’s finest depictions of human psychological disintegration ever committed to celluloid. Coppola takes the source material and translates it to the era of the Vietnam War. The primary focus is placed upon Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) and his journey into the abyss in search of the elusive and mythical figure of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, famously played with a sense of incoherent madness by the incoherently mad Marlon Brando.
There are so many contributing factors as to why Apocalypse Now is still revered as one of the great movies of the 20th century that one can struggle to find a particular element to highlight. Yet, in my opinion, the film ultimately belongs to Coppola, as each and every scene possesses his signature as a true auteur. Whether it be from the astonishing shots of the movie’s desolate landscapes, mirroring those of its complex protagonist, or his ability to pull such, frankly, ingenious performances from his cast, everything that makes Apocalypse Now so successful can be laid firmly at the feet of Coppola.
While I’m sure none of this will be news to anyone to have ever watched Apocalypse Now, I can do no more than recommend that the Blu-ray release really is a worthwhile purchase. It’s abundance of special features, not to mention the superb heightening of the film’s visual presence, serve merely to emphasise just what a masterpiece this movie really is.