Apocalypse Now/Hearts of Darkness: Ch. 20

Posted in Movie of the week on June 19th, 2014 by bill

(2:08:19–2:15:02)

Francis Coppola directed Apocalypse Now, but for six minutes or so here, it’s Marlon Brando’s show. The movie is going to sink or swim on Brando’s portrayal of, as Coppola says in Hearts of Darkness,

A character of a monumental nature who is struggling with the extremities of his soul — and is struggling with them on such a level that you are in awe of it — and is destroyed by them.

This is a tall order for an actor. Although in some respects Brando presented an obstacle that Coppola had to overcome to finish the movie, in another way Coppola was relying on Brando to get him out of the corner he’d painted himself into. Apocalypse Now had no real structured ending at this point, and after flailing about for awhile Coppola decided to just wing it, hoping that Brando would be so brilliant and charismatic that audiences would buy him as this grand, tragic figure.
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