23 – Film Studies (‘Apocalypse Now’ Who’s in command here?)

‘Apocalypse Now’ an analysis of the depiction of War!

Apocalypse Now is based on the Vietnam War. The perspective of the Vietnam War is told through the eyes of the American Captain Benjamin L. Willard. The film is set in in the 1960’s. The war is depicted in many different ways by many different people.

Psychology – You can clearly see that some soldiers cannot handle the war and just brake down, while not in battle but in fear of going into battle whereas others have grown into the war and are able to handle themselves in battle confidently. For instance Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore does not flinch or start panicking when bad things happen. For instance when they are in the helicopter, and the flare goes off, several of the soldiers panic, but Kilgore does not panic at all. It is the same when they are down on the beach and lots of grenades and gunfire are being hurled their way. He does not move. He stays where he is and does not move out of position.

Sympathy and Hatred – Their are several scenes in the film where you see how people feel towards others if they have been injured or killed whether American or Vietnamese. You see the american bodies hanging in the native village. In the village, you also see how Colonel Kurtz treated the other Americans who went after him. He cuts off the head of the soldier with the mustache. He keeps Willard hostage for several days. When the boat comes across the path of a Vietnamise boat, you see how the young black man on the machine gun acts towards the Vietnamese as he shoots them all. When kilgore see’s a wounded American soldier, he offers him his drink. However when Willard see’s a wounded Vietnamise woman, he shoots her.

Lust for Love – Many times you see people talking about Parents and Wives. You hear a narrative of the letter that the young black man received before he dies. You also see posters of Women for sale. Then later on you see how excited the men get when the helicopter arrives with three female dancers. People clearly show how they have missed others while at the war.

Desertion – Several times in the film, you see people attempting to leave. I cannot recall who, but the narrative explains that one of the character’s deserted and left after the tiger scene. Another scene where you see people attempting to flee, is when the boat arrives at the outpost bridge and all of the men attempt to get on the boat. During that scene also, the older black man offers to turn the boat around and leave the mission. As well as these scenes, lots of men try to grab onto the helicopter that leaves with the female dancers on board. Colonel Kurtz abandoned his mission and went rogue.

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