Film Pick of the Week
Francis Ford Coppola has restored 53 minutes to his brilliant, visionary 1979 anti-war adventure about the temptation to be God, ideals, breaking points, unsound military judgment and the horror and collective lies known as the Vietnam War. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) travels upriver in a small gunboat to assassinate renegade Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Along the route, Coppola has added pit stops at a French plantation that feels suspended in time and a muddy Medivac camp that harbors stranded Playboy Bunnies. These eerie scenes interject sidebars of history, colonialism, sex and female nudity into the metaphorical trek. They feel rather expendable as several other briefer scenes beef up the characterization of a surf-obsessed air cavalry commander (Robert Duvall), a teen crewman (Larry Fishburne), Willard and Kurtz. John Milius’ script is based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness but often plays like pages ripped from Michael Herr’s Dispatches.