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USA 1991
Directed by
Fax Bahr / George Hickenlooper
96 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

Francis Ford Coppola’s epic allegory of the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now is one of the legendary films of modern cinema history and Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, appropriately enough, is fascinating behind-the-scenes account of its making .

Drawing heavily on film footage and audio recordings made on site in the Philippines by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, with cutaway interviews with the director and some of the main players including co-scriptwriter John Milius and originally slated director, George Lucas, as well as cast members such as  Martin Sheen,  Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper  we get a candid insight into the process of the film’s actualisation with Coppola, riding high after the success of the Godfather films adopting a take-no-prisoners approach to realizing his vision that meant pushing the production to the very limits of control in order to invoke the madness that was the real Vietnam war.  A typhoon that caused the production to close down for two months, a spiraling budget that required Coppola to mortgage his home and star Martin Sheen's heart attack were only the tip of the iceberg.

Coppola got away with it but only just (the struggle to find a satisfactory ending with Brando shows how close he came to blowing it) and Apocalypse Now is an American classic. Hearts of Darkness shows you just how he did it.




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