(out of 5)
Fascinating, colourful and completely disturbing adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, featuring some of the best camera work of the seventies by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Director Francis Ford Coppola moves the original period and setting of the novel to the Vietnam war, with Martin Sheen taking a long trip down a river to find an army leader (Marlon Brando) who has cut himself off from regular communication with his base commanders. Brando doesn’t show up until the end of the film, but when he does he gives a bone-chilling performance, as does Robert Duvall as a gung ho captain who very famously loves the smell of napalm in the morning. Once you’ve watched this brilliant film, go and rent Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper and Eleanor Coppola’s excellent documentary Hearts of Darkness for a great look at the making of one of the most plagued film shoots in movie history. A four hour cut of the film won the Palme D’Or at Cannes as a work in progress (and the “Redux” version is now available for viewing).
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Music by Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola
Production Design by Dean Tavoularis
Costume Design by Charles E. James