(Review originally written at 13 August 2005)

This movie is extremely odd. Looking at this movie makes it obvious that most of the cast and crew were on drugs during filming. The end movie result, is an unique one of a kind movie experience and quite possible the best Vietnam war movie ever made. It's not a movie for everyone though, guess true movie buffs are the only ones who can truly wholeheartedly appreciate this movie and the 'beauty' of all the ugliness in the movie.

The movie makes a perfect statement as an anti-war movie. It shows the horror of war and what it does to men. I have to admit that my favorite parts of the movie were the ones with action in it. The chopper attack is truly splendid and a real classic moment of movie history. Still this is not really a movie about shooting and fighting. Its more a movie about the emotional struggles of men during war. The struggles of the main character Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) are told in a most excellent, slow, compelling way. He becomes more and more obsessed and interested in the man he is supposed to 'terminate with extreme prejudice', during his journey over the river to Cambodia, where Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), the man he is supposed to kill, is located. Once the movie progresses it becomes obvious that the journey and the emotional struggles seem to be more difficult and dangerous than the killing of Kurtz.

What makes the movie work are the good and realistically brought characters and the actors that portray them. All of the characters are stereotypes in a way, which works extremely well for the movie and its story. Brando is totally flipped in his role as 'crazy' mumbling Colonel Kurtz and even though his role isn't THAT big (ironic sentence, considering the fact that Brando was 40kg overweight, for his role), he still makes a lasting impression. Also totally crazy is Dennis Hopper in his role as American photojournalist that lives under Kurtz. Robert Duvall also gives a most excellent performance as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore. Rest of the cast consists out of big names as Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, G.D. Spradlin and a 14-year old Laurence Fishburne, in one of his first movie roles.

The movie has a fantastic and kind if surreal atmosphere, which makes this movie one of the most moody movies ever made, also thanks to the Oscar winning cinematography by Vittorio Storaro.

Perhaps the whole story surrounding the making of this movie (Sheen's heart-attack, the difficult overweight Brando, the drug abuse, the 16 months of filming in the jungle, the three year editing process.) is more legendary than the movie itself, it still is a classic, one of a kind movie, that might very well be the best Vietnam-war movie (yet).


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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