Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now:.
In the beginning of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, the haunting voice of The Doors' Jim Morrison painfully croons, "Lost in a wilderness of pain, all the children are insane." These lyrics are coupled with scenes of tumultuous chaos and discordant images of dissolving memories. The scene finally focuses onto the face of a man, and it is realized that these memories are his own. The music and cinematography was utilized here to initiate the viewer into an elucidation of personal turmoil within him. This man is Captain Benjamin Willard, an assassin for the Army's Special Forces, who struggles interminably with the "abomination" of the Vietnam War. .
Shortly later, Willard begins a journey of immense scope up the Nung River, through the heart of Vietnam, into Cambodia. He is to find, and exterminate, one Colonel Kurtz. As the mission begins, so too does a parallel, a bridge between two rivers: the Nung and the Congo. And with this same bridge, so begins the tale of Charles Marlow and Heart of Darkness. "The Horror" in both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now develops in basically the same manner, following the theory of a universal underlying truth. .
Willard's character may be based upon Marlow, and it is true that the horrors they witness are intrinsically the same. However, the stories that they tell, especially in the sense of cinematic framing, are entirely different. .
Amazingly, Coppola manages to juxtapose the same feelings of disenchantment and enlightenment in Willard that Conrad does in Marlow. One reason for this is that while all the superficial details are changed, the substance of each tale is eternal and unalterable. Marlow realizes his tale as embodying this thought and relays his ideas to his audience at the beginning of his story by saying:.
I was thinking of very old times, when the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years ago-the other day .