Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Narrated By: Tanzi Alexander
Francis Ford Coppola’s other extremely long classic epic finally got checked off my list. I didn’t put much thought into the “Redux” version, as it was the first time I was watching either version, and I just needed audio description. I figured this was a little different, but I had no idea this was almost an hour longer than the original. Good lord. And this thing is so dark and depressing, I can’t see myself wanting to jump back in to see the original cut even if I found it with audio description, or one day got cyborg eyes.
So, my opinion is based on this very long version. So, one of my notes is that it’s long, and it feels long. There are some parts of the film I’m sure were only in the redux version because they slow the film down. the pacing becomes odd because sometimes we just halt, and the next minute crazy shit happens and we are right back into war again.
Regardless of the version, its a film with a tremendous lead performance from Martin Sheen, who was shockingly not nominated for an Oscar. I feel like, if we went back in time, he’d at least be nominated. There are other great performances here from Robert Duvall and Dennis hopper, who are always great, as well as smaller roles from future stars Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford. but the performance that led everyone to madness was Marlon Brando’s interpretation of his role, which i understand was a bit trying for all involved in the production. you know what though? He’s also kind of brilliant. Brando was still very much in his right mind here, and he knew what worked, and gives this bizarre performance that truly encapsulates the madness of this terrible conflict. Sheen may seem like the war hero, but there aren’t really any heroes here. I think the point of the film is to really show that there’s quite a bit of unknown when it comes to being in a war, and everyone is just trying to stay alert, and convince others around them that they have their wits about them. Should someone start to fall off their rocker, chaos could happen, as everyone is feeling some level of unease, but no one wants to admit it.
It feels weird to say this is not my favorite war film. Like, that’s a genre we should have a favorite in. I think watching the directors cut that is ungodly long might have something to do with that, and I’m tryin to remember that here with my grading, as well as putting myself in the period. The performances here are terrific, even if i am not sure how long this thing actually needs to be.
I’m glad to ahve this checked off my list, and the audio description really did help me enjoy iconic moments I was already familiar with, like the shot of Martin Sheen rising from the water, or the helicopter shot over one of the greatest pieces of classical music that now is more associated with this film than the period it actually comes from. Plus, Duvall’s line, is still one of the greatest lines ever in cinema.
Should you watch it? In some form, at some point, absolutely. This remains a classic that demands to be seen, as it is so expertly shot and told by Coppola. Heart Of Darkness? Yes. This film might just be.
Final Grade: A-