Monday, February 26, 2007

Apocalypse Now.

Many bloggers have posts up today about the Oscars held last night (Feb. 25). I will freely admit, I didn’t watch them. I haven’t seen any of the films up for an award. (Due to the current sibling situation, I am now relegated to seeing only movies that involve articulate raccoons and dancing penguins.) Plus, I get a wee bit tired of watching the acceptance speeches for wardrobe, or editing, or whatever. Yes, those aspects of filmmaking are important. I am just not interested in hearing them thank their co-workers. So, to celebrate my non-viewing of the Academy Awards, I pulled out “Apocalypse Now”.

That still remains a very disturbing film to me. It is more than just “a film”. I can’t even really describe what I feel when I watch that. I can say that it contains more memorable and shocking visual images than any film I have ever seen. The entire beginning sequence with Martin Sheen having what appears to be a psychotic break, punching the mirror and then contemplating his bloody hand sets the entire mood of the film. Marlon Brando hiding at the edge of the shadow and then leaning forward to have only his face exposed is rather shocking in its simplicity. The ceremonial but very real slaughtering of a live bull that appears to have been drugged interspersed with the killing of Kurtz at the end of the film is brutal and a slap in the face of the viewer.

This film, better than any I have ever seen, captures the human descent into madness, both on an individual basis as well as the collective “civilized” society.

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