After having watched Apocalypse now (redux version) I couldn’t help but think of the true reality that occurred during the war. Lies most often overwhelmed these soldiers without them even knowing it and deviated them from a path of reality towards a path of madness.
As the movie progresses it is visible that madness begins to seep into the individuals which had accompanied Willard (and Willard himself) in his journey along the Nung River to find Kurtz. As a result of this, the individuals become more separated from reality.
Here are a few examples of how some characters developed throughout the movie:
Willard: He had already been affected by his previous deployment in Vietnam, and now, he had become obsessed with reaching his target, Kurtz. Willard knows the effects that the war can bring upon a man, and thus he tries to overpower the idea of madness by repressing these thoughts. Nevertheless, throughout the journey he starts to realize that in times of war, deception is almost inevitable. We can see an instance where Willard’s desire to reach Kurtz has drove him to do cruel things; this instance is visible when Willard kills the injured woman on the boat at point blank (minute 94). I feel as if Willard did not know what made sense anymore, and trying to make sense of everything begins to drive him mad.
Lance: His transformations throughout the movie, in my opinion, are the most noticeable. Lance starts out as a dedicated soldier and is always alert to his surroundings. As the journey goes on he starts consuming drugs in order to try and isolate himself from the war that is occurring around him. Around minute 106, when the boat is under attack Lance makes a comparison to Disneyland, “this is better than Disneyland”. Here we can see a comparison made between war and a theme park, thus I believe it is a statement that implies an escape from reality and/ or madness itself.
Chef: His transformations are similar to that of Lances, but with a hint of emotional breakdowns. Since the beginning of the movie Chefs frustration is visible, as he has a desire to return home and become a saucier. As the journey through the Nung develops, Chef decides to escape the war by consuming drugs as well. Furthermore his anxiety and anger are a key factor in developing his madness. This is most visible when Clean dies during an enemy encounter (minute 107); here we can see how Chef emotionally breaks down after having confronted the reality of death and of their current situation.
Whilst watching the movie I found myself feeling anxious and so I think that Coppola managed to portray a very good image of the war and with it, madness itself.