Movie Reviews, Commentary & More

FFM 2 - Apocalypse Now

Masterpieces like 'Schindler's List', 'Platoon' and 'Full Metal Jacket' have breathed life into the cliche 'the dehumanizing power of war'. 'Apocalypse Now' took a tangential approach from the above mentioned war movies (any war movie, for that matter) and made a resounding statement about the dehumaninzing power of war. Infact, it went much deeper than that - it's about the beast inside the man.

The storyline uses the Vietnam war as a background. Capt. Willard is on a critical assignment - to find and kill Col. Kurtz, with extreme prejudice. Capt. Willard is seen as an emotionally unstable man, but with good military credentials. A patrol boat, swimming through river Nung helps Willard to reach Cambodia, which is where Col.Kurtz is.

The patrol boat stops a sampan (fishing boat) carrying a family for a routine check. (Sampans were used by the VietCong to smuggle weapons and contraband items). When a U.S soldier is completing his check-up, a little girl on the sampan moves rapidly to hide/help something. This triggers Clean, a high-strung teenager to fire at the family indiscrimanetly on his impulse. When he's done, everyone's dead except the little girl's mother and the boat's commander insists on carrying her to the nearest army hospital. Capt. Willard, who remains unperturbed for most of the events, puts a bullet into her and explains that the wounded woman can't delay his mission. It turns out that the girl was trying to protect her puppy from them.

If you haven't seen the movie, I don't think I have done justice to the scene by this post. Although it's partly becuase of my limitations as a writer, the scene is breathtakingly composed that no amount of words by the greatest living writer can evoke the sense of disbelief the scene creates. Because what precedes the sampan massacre and what follows the massacre are seen with different perceptions - the scene defines the strength of movie making. This scene adds a new depth to Capt. Willard - he is not a cold-blooded murderer; he's not deranged. But his soft corner has been numbed. His heart has been broken and rubbed into stony salt that he no longer cares for himself.

Trace post.

0 Responses to “FFM 2 - Apocalypse Now”

Post a Comment