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Apocalypse Now Redux

Director: Francis Coppola


With his own career as a director entering a fallow period, Francis Coppola has taken to producing other people’s movies and tinkering with his past masterpieces. This Redux version of Apocalypse Now is not so much a different film but a much more coherent and satisfying extension of the 1979 original. Loosely adapted from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the story unfolds as in the original, with captain Willard (Martin Sheen), being despatched upriver to kill Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a renegade American colonel who is fighting his own unconventional Vietnam war from an outpost in neighbouring Cambodia. There is now much more material covering Willard’s companions on the boat, with the dynamics of the group emerging with greater clarity and force. Even more crucial is the addition of the legendary ‘French Plantation’ sequence. Occupying 25 minutes, this episode is important for articulating specific historical and political details, such as the French experience in Vietnam and how little the Americans learned from it. All the film’s original qualitiesoVittorio Storaro’s beautiful cinematography, Michael Herr’s indispensable voice-over commentary, the unforgettable set-piece of the helicopter raid on the villageoare as effective as ever.
U.S.A., 1979-2001. Colour. Technovision anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 203 mins.

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