Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hearts of Darkness (2001)

Vietnam War Movie #9 (ok, it’s not really a Vietnam War’s a movie ABOUT a Vietnam War movie).

Synopsis: Bungle in the jungle.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Featuring dramatic, never-before-seen on-the-set footage and recent interviews with the director, cast and crew, ‘HEARTS OF DARKNESS’ provides a fascinating glimpse into the madness and the magic behind the scenes of this epic production as it spiralled out of control and turned into a filmmaking nightmare.”

What Did I Learn?: If you have a finished movie script, and you’ve mortgaged your home and all of your possessions, you might not want to re-cast your leading role mid-way through, write entirely new scenes late into the night, or allow your actors to improvise that crucial, last confrontation because you don’t exactly know how to end the fucking film.

Really?: 1) So wait – Eleanor Coppola recorded her husband without his knowledge, and she didn’t think that might have been creepy or unethical? 2) Apocalypse Now is running way over-time and over-budget and FFC is concerned about the temperature of the wine, and even prepared to fly in real Frenchmen from France during the rubber plantation scene?

Rating: Documentaries about movie-making are often hit-or-miss; anything related to the making of Star Wars soon devolves into “blue screens” and special effects. At their worst, such “documentaries” become marketing videos like Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy, or the Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special. Hearts of Darkness is more akin to The Kid Stays in the Picture: it’s an interesting, and often unflattering look Francis Ford Coppola making of a masterpiece. If you enjoy movies, it makes for a fascinating companion piece to Apocalypse Now. 8/10 stars.


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