Monday, October 1, 2012

BOOK VS MOVIE: Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now

Seeing humanity in ruins is a horrifying thing to witness. The collapse of moral sanity is all around us. There's no escaping it, no matter how hard you try.

Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness displays such a thing. Chronicling the depths of one man's obsession amid a world of carnage, it's an unflinching portrait of how depraved and brutal man can become. It's truly an unsettling read.

Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now is more of a nod towards what Conrad wrote than it is an adaptation, but it stills retains many of the novella's themes. With a Vietnam War backdrop, the motifs of consuming madness and reigning chaos seem all the more relevant. (it also seems fitting albeit surreal that Coppola almost went mad during production.)

The film is viewed as a perspective against war, the vile actions one human can do to another, and how deluded a mind can become. Coppola depicted some of these motifs before in the first two entries of The Godfather trilogy, so the film was in good hands. Also, his three films prior to Apocalypse Now were Oscar darlings so again, the film was in good hands.

Both the novella and the film are great, but there can only be one. And I know which one it is. Although Conrad depicts pure madness in the matter of only a few chapters, Coppola goes into grand detail on the same subject. (And I do mean "grand".) You simply can't get a better war film than Apocalypse Now.

What's worth checking out?: The movie.


  1. We were just reading about Conrad in class and the moment the teacher started describing Heart of Darkness, I immediately started thinking of Apocalypse Now. I didn't even know it was based on the book.
    I don't think I will be able to read the book. It really doesn't seem my type. Great war film, definitely.

  2. I would say the movie is definitely the better of the two. The book is good, but the movie is sooo good, its hard to top it.


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