Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Skuriels Countdown: #11 (tie)

Francis Ford Coppola, 1979
[11 votes]

"They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, and never will again. The release of Apocalypse Now signaled 'The End' of a lot of things: the 1970s, the New Hollywood era of empowered auteurist filmmakers, Francis Ford Coppola’s reign as a boundless creative force. And although it was far from the last large-scale production to run amok, it’s one of the few in which the madness of its making is imbedded in the DNA of the picture itself; it permeates every frame of the film.

"Coppola’s famous self-aggrandizing statement that 'my film is not about Vietnam—it is Vietnam' could have doomed the movie had the finished product not been such an overwhelming experience of sight and sound. Coherent narrative? Traditional Hollywood structure? Who needs ‘em? You’re either aboard for the ride with Willard, Chief, Clean and the rest, or you're reaching for your
Godfather DVDs. Even among those of us for whom Apocalypse was a formative experience in mind-expanding cinema, it's clear that the finished product teeters on the border between genius and nonsense, and you need only spend an evening with the misguided Apocalypse Now Redux to see how thin the line between the two actually is.

"One knock against Apocalypse Now has always been that Marlon Brando showed up on the set without having read the source material, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness —as if there’s any reason he should have. (Does anyone know if Brando read Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather? Does anyone care?) Brando did the only thing he could reasonably do under the circumstances: give himself over to the doomy, deranged vibe of the endeavor and deliver one of his creepiest, most iconic performances. The triumph of Apocalypse Now has nothing to do with fidelity to a particular literary work and everything to do with exploding the possibilities of cinema, one last time forever.
" ~ Scott von Doviak

No comments:

Post a Comment