Apocalypse Now Redux
Up the river. Captain Willard (Sheen) could never be ready for what he'll find ahead...
one of Shadows' all-time best films dir Francis Ford Coppola
scr John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola
with Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Albert Hall, Aurore Clement, Colleen Camp, Christian Marquand, Harrison Ford
release US 3.Aug.01; UK 23.Nov.01
79-01/US 3h22

5 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
never get out of the boat Coppola's 1979 masterpiece gets the director's cut treatment, with 49 minutes of previously edited footage reinserted to bring the film in line with the director's original vision. And the result is stunning, making an astonishing film even more powerful ... but changing it completely in the process. The story, based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, centres on Captain Willard (Sheen), a US Army intelligence officer with a mission to travel into Cambodia and terminate ("with extreme prejudice") the command of the renegade Colonel Kurtz (Brando). Along the way he bonds with the crew (Forrest, Bottoms, Fishburne and Hall) of the boat taking him up-river as they encounter a gung-ho surfing colonel (Duvall), a sexy French woman (Clement), a few Playboy Bunnies, a free-wheeling journalist (Hopper) and more war-time horrors than they could have imagined.

This has always been a magical, gruelling, brilliant movie, so it's surprising that Coppola has tampered with it in such significant ways. But he says this was his original intent--less a war movie and more a film about truth and restraint. In this sense, the new edit is a triumph, because the film's numbing chaos is now much more finely focussed on its themes, even if the story itself is more rambling. Diversions into two new scenes now break up the narrative; a second sequence involving the Bunnies sits nicely in the story, while an extended detour to a French plantation brings the plot to a haunting halt but sets up the final thematic cataclysm much more sharply. Other insertions add a much-needed camaraderie among the boat crew boat, which makes their transformation into "hollow men" much more evocative. And unnerving political discussions about government and media misinformation create a clearer context; these were ahead of their time in 1979, but they're pop-culture today (just watch The X-Files).

All of these changes have not altered the film's genius. It's still stunningly beautiful to look at, remarkably moving and horrific, and jammed with memorable characters in unforgettable situations. Coppola's direction is impeccable, capturing both the intimate detail, overarching spectacle and layered depth of meaning, often all in one shot. All without a single digital special effect! This is essential, must-see cinema. And this so-called "definitive" edit hits us even more squarely between the eyes.
themes, strong violence, language, nudity cert 15 5.Sep.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
i love the smell of napalm in the morning send your review to Shadows... Torsten Simons, Cologne: 5 out of 5 stars "Horror ... the horror! This movie isn't a typical Nam war movie like We Were Soldiers or others. It shows the ways a man could get crazy in that time. It's a movie you must think twice about to get its sense. It's a must-see-film. There a lot of movies which show the sadness of war, especially the Nam war. But no movie can ever the beat the cruel details of Apocalypse Now Redux." (15.Apr.04)

marc780, California: 5 out of 5 stars "You'd have to have seen the original, tight, 1979 movie, more than once, to appreciate its place in film. Audiences everywhere i saw this movie marveled, applauded, gasped and cheered like i never have seen before or since. And in these days of CGI, its safe to say that no one will ever make anything like it ever again. I haven't watched Redux because i havent found a reason the original should be altered. The editing was impeccible, the storyline and characters never more fineley drawn, and the music (from Coppola's father, Carmine) could not possibly have been any better. This movie will have film buffs debating their own mortality for the next hundred years at least. There are plenty of complaints about this movie, and pretty much all of them are from people who fail to see the movie for what it is: Apocalypse Now is art, and not an army training film. It is war, it is peace, it is life, death, power and the illusion of same. It is a study of human nature pushed beyond the limit. I challenge anyone to watch this movie and be unchanged." (9.Dec.07)

2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall