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Comparing Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now

Powerful Essays
Parallels Between Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now is a very vivid and sometimes disturbing film centered on the Vietnam War. Because it was based on Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, it is possible to draw some parallels between the two. Both can be interpreted as metaphors for a journey through the inner self, and each has its own singular message to convey. Apocalypse Now very perspicuously depicts the fact that men have hearts of darkness, and it explores the evils of war. At the same time, however, it seemingly glorifies some aspects. The anti-war sequences were often brutal and portrayed destruction as a result of the human condition. The film Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, can be interpreted both as pro-war and anti-war in its intent, although the latter is a more valid interpretation.

Apocalypse Now, graphic and disturbing, vividly depicts the true image of war. Coppola and his cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, presented a series of visually stunning images throughout the film that made it impossible for the viewer not to contemplate the Vietnam War, its purposes, and its shortcomings. These images also lead the audience to an anti-war sentiment. One of the first images that depicts the anti-war disposition was the series of visuals presented during the film's opening sequence, as Captain Willard, the protagonist, is shown in his hotel room in Saigon. A song titled "The End," by The Who, is played as images of helicopters flying overhead and exploding bombs flash across the screen. Willard is first shown lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling fan, which frequently merges with the helicopter blades. Later he is shown, wea...

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Heart of Darkness. Dir. Nicolas Roeg. Turner Network Television (TNT) Pictures, 1994.

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