Essay On Dehumanization In Apocalypse

1881 words - 8 pages

Dehumanization in Apocalypse Now Almost 40 years after Apocalypse Now came out, it is still heralded as one of the most outstanding motion pictures ever released, winning the Palme d'Or and constantly recognized as a benchmark in cinematic history. Even though it has gained outstanding acclaim since its release, the film has a lot of ambiguous plot lines. How could the Best Picture nominee, with some of the most surreal imagery and plot devices that are begging to be deduced, not have one soul theme? We witness an undercurrent of themes that are present in the movie, but it seems to be about so much more. It seems to be about the destruction of people's morals. It comments on the way America operated during the Vietnam War. It shows the confused values that America pushed upon the world. It is not a typical war movie because it is not a completely factual account of the Vietnam War. As the film progresses, it goes into this dreamlike, hazy tale of inner torment. What is really going on in Apocalypse Now?
The basic narrative of Apocalypse Now is the story of Captain Willard traveling up the Nong River to assonate the rogue Colonel Kurtz. The majority of the time spent with the characters is spent traveling up this river, and the main interpretation of this is that it is a metaphor for the descent into madness. Furthermore, it may be the characters' inner journey showing us the progress of evil. The way this is achieved is through the film's development of dehumanization. There are three major stops along the river and each step represents a step implanting a new type of evil into the characters, as well as furthering the dehumanization that the war has brought.

The first stop along the river is with Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore. This step demonstrates the love of war and the dehumanization is of the enemy found in the Vietnamese people. The second stop is the USO show where we see the loss of morality, as well as the dehumanization of the innocent. The final stop before Kurtz is DoLung Bridge, showing the madness that the war has created and showing the dehumanization of the mind and oneself. At each of these points, the characters are completely consumed by that stop's byproduct of evil. As we see more of Willard, we see that he possesses traits of PTSD, a lack of good morals, and a degree of insanity. This is all shown throughout the movie and shows us the harms of war that we might not have seen in the mainstream media at the time of the War. Willard is traveling to meet Kurtz not only because he is on a mission to kill him but also because they both have experienced the same tragedies. It appears that Willard is looking for answers. As stated, the first stop that the boat makes shows us the first stage of evil: the love of war. This is the longest segment of the film, aside from the ending. The characters pull up on the shore, and we can only imagine what a first impression this must have been for the PBR Street gang. Their escorts w...

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