Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now - Cold War Perspectives 12th Grade

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now sustains a derogative perspective on the state of war and its corruptive influence. Set in Saigon during the Vietnam War, the action and narrative present the post-World War II era as a morally confused, hypocritical, and corrupt period, specifically as the film’s antagonist Colonel Kurtz illuminates moral subjectivity, and embodies the nihilistic and egocentric nature of war. Corruption is expressed through the metaphor of Benjamin Willard’s mission, which acts as a transformative quality for the characters; specifically as his crew revert to escapism and façades to elude their own guilt and ignorance, as expressed through the symbolism of masks. This film indicts the apparent hypocrisy of American democracy, as the war on communism is an infringement on their core value of freedom of speech, with paranoia and egocentrism being at the heart of America’s shallow perspective. While current systems of governance remain narcissistic in scope and the tension between Communism and Capitalism at large, Coppola’s Apocalypse Now will retain relevance in a world skewed by human vice.

Whilst actions in war are considered blurred, the immorality of war itself innately ensures corruption,...

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