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The Braveness: Apocalypse Now

And then, before the battle had fully ended, Duvall directs some of his men to hit the surf - surfboards and surfing in the midst of a jungle battle in Vietnam? Coppola's attempt to show insanity everywhere, independently in each character (instead of showing the war as official insanity) went too far from reality. He must have intended the surfing scene as a joke, assumed that his audience would be sufficiently insane enough to believe it, or suffered a bit of madness himself.

Coppola did capture a general insanity of war - graphic death and destruction always seems insane. He also captured one aspect of insanity specifically related to the Vietnam war: the incredible contrast between somewhat primitive peasants and the modern U.S. military, high technology, drugs and rock-and-roll, and Playboy Bunnies. It was insane for spaced-out American boys, so accustomed to luxury and decadence, to be fighting, killing and dying for causes they knew nothing about. Unfortunately, Apocalypse Now sheds no light on those causes, and that was the biggest flaw in the film.

The film does not touch on the official insanity of the war, to differentiate it from other wars. Certainly the Vietnam War inspired acts of independent madness, but overall the U.S. involvement was not a matter of thousands of independent madmen, each carrying out detached acts of insanity. For the most part, officers were directed, and followed orders. Coppola failed to even hint at why we were there, or that the decisions that put us there were insane. If a film about World War II were designed similarly, we would witness death and destruction in the absence of any reference to Hitler or Hirohito, without mention of Pearl Harbor, totally without case or purpose. That is the essence of Apocalypse Now. If anything, Coppola avoided exploring the most important insanity of all - public acceptance of violence as a legitimate policy tool. It is this that allows gover...

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The Braveness: Apocalypse Now. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:47, August 21, 2017, from
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