Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper Laurence Fisbourne.
An inquiry into the morality and mythology of war, 'Apocalpyse Now' questions how a culture can be fed lies about war's reality and legitimacy. Coppola successfully depicts the Vietnam War with its insanity, horror, hypocrisy, moral dilemma and exploitation. The newly added footage in 'Apocalpyse Now Redux' not only reinforces the themes of the original movie but explores them more overtly.
Coppola's powerful and engaging masterpiece tells the story of Captain Willard's (Martin Sheen) journey up-stream to Cambodia where he is to carry out the mission of terminating with extreme prejudice an insane US colonel sergeant played by Marlon Brando.
The newly added inserts include footage of the navy patrol boat as it begins its journey up-river. A conversation about the stolen surfboard takes place and reveals the genuine camaraderie that exists between the troops. A light-hearted and slightly humorous scene, it offers deeper insight into the individual characters.
A second addition is The French Plantation sequence, which provides a degree of historical perspective to the film and offers a brief relief from the preceding scenes. The footage involves the funeral of Clean and a dinner party in which Willard listens to his French hosts as they explain and justify their reason for being in this part of the world while questioning America's incentive for being in Vietnam. Willard is told, "You Americans fight for the biggest nothing in history". The scene overtly questions the motives behind the Vietnam War and how American culture lied to itself about its reality.
Following the passionate dinner conversation is the newly inserted love scene between Willard and Roxanne, a French widow played by Aurore Clement. Here Coppola introduces new music which contrasts quite dramatically with the rest of the musical score. Sensuous, moving and beautifully shot, Willard's softer side is exposed through his encounter with Roxanne when she describes him as a man with two sides – "the one who loves and the one who kills".
Another addition to the original movie is the expanded Playboy playmates sequence in which their helicopter runs out of fuel. When Willard bargains some fuel for time with the women we are alerted to the way in which women, used as commodities, were exploited during the war.
Perhaps most potent are the newly inserted Brando scenes which offer further insight into the mind of Kurtz. His speech is delivered cooly and does more to point to the insanity of war itself than to his own insanity. Kurtz quotes from Time Magazine about how the American public were lied to about the Vietnam War. Controversial and powerful, the new footage underscores the film's anti-propaganda theme.
You might wonder how a masterpiece can be made better? Well, Coppola manages to do just that with 'Apocalypse Now Redux'. Richer and more attentive to theme, politically engaging, with elements of tragic romance, Redux supplements the original and is a must for any cinema lover.