how war reveals truths we would be
happy never to discover”
This is a stunning work, by Francis Ford Coppola, hallucinatory and nightmarish. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is assigned to find and executive renegade and presumed insane Colonel Kurz (Marlon Brando) who has set himself up in the Cambodian jungle as a local godhead. We go along with him upriver, deeper and deeper into the dark places of the soul.
Coppola has said that it’s not an anti-war film but an anti-lie film: “…the fact that a culture can lie about what’s really going on in warfare, that people are being brutalised, tortured, maimed, and killed, and somehow present this as moral is what horrifies me, and perpetuates the possibility of war.”
Only a genius could come up with the scene showing a helicopter attack on a Vietnamese village led by Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall), whose choppers have loudspeakers on full blast playing “The Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner, as they swoop down on the village.