Coppola fails to capture the enduring meaning of "Heart of Darkness" because Williard lacks Marlow's qualities.
The everlasting qualities of "Heart of Darkness" have no been captured by Coppola in the film "Apocalypse Now", because he has failed to capture the essence of the character Marlow. We the readers can see a definite development within the personality of Marlow throughout the text. Marlow becomes harder and eventually indifferent to death. Williard however stays the same throughout the film, as there is nothing for him to harden too; he has already seen and experienced death by his own hand.
When Marlow is firstly introduced into the text, the readers are directly positioned to admire him as do the men on the Nellie, "the worst that could be said of him, is that he didn't follow his class". He is a strong, solid and trustworthy character who is not afraid or ashamed to speak the truth, "Nineteen hundred years ago the other day". He can speak of history, and even horrific periods that may have past fell him in his lifetime, with complete truth. Conrad's careful descriptions of Marlow and his fine qualities, "Palms of hands outwards, [he] resembled an idol", make up the timelessness of "Heart of Darkness". This however is in contrast to the character of Williard. Williard on first observation is shown in a drunken, drugged state and is incapable of dressing himself; he is not in control of his own life. Williard cannot admit to his ghastly past. When asked about his last mission, he denies it ever happened. The viewers have no choice, but to distrust Williard and abhor him; after all he is an assassin. .
Marlow is completely appalled with the way that the whites are colonising Africa and corrupting the natives as well as destroying their natural lifestyle. He admires the restraints of the cannibals and abhors the actions of the whites; who have received the benefits of "the whole of Europe".