A case study in “too much of a good thing,” the “Redux” cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Heart Of Darkness in Vietnam” film Apocalypse Now adds more vulgar comedy and thematic underlining, making an already lengthy movie feel wastefully ponderous. But Redux is worth watching at least once for historical context, because the longer Apocalypse Now incorporates more of the ideas that Coppola, John Milius, and George Lucas had been kicking around for the movie since the 1960s, and it captures more of the excess involved in the actual production. Plus, buried within Coppola’s extended cut is the original Apocalypse Now: one of the most thrillingly ambitious hybrids of art-film and blockbuster ever attempted. As a Special Forces agent played by Martin Sheen heads upriver to confront an unhinged colonel played by Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now sometimes aims to recreate actual war on film (with all the expense that entails), and sometimes has Coppola just exploring pure cinematic texture. Even today—and even in its needlessly prolonged version—Apocalypse Now is a magnificent example of what happens when inspired free-association meets stacks of money. Apocalypse Now Redux airs on Epix2 at 9:45 p.m. Eastern.
August 18, 2014 newsreel