Movie Review Sample - Apocalypse

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Apocalypse is a film that features Vietnamese at war. This reveals how people from Vietnam were tired of taking orders from the Americans thus started a revolution meant to refute humiliation by their superiors. Many people incurred severe injuries during the war while others lost their minds due to the trauma they experienced. Benjamin is the main character, and he is suffering from posttraumatic experience, which affects him to the extent of divorcing his wife. Well organization coupled with employing of diverse styles in this film has immensely helped in bringing out its themes effectively. Besides, editing of the film has benefit to it owing to its alignment of diverse scenes that comprises the film, hence making both the characters and their settings are in harmony.


Apocalypse film starts with the words “Apocalypse Now.” Viewers hear the sound of a helicopter behind the screen and they are able to see a beautiful jungle that is full of life. Some minutes later a-bomb, napalm, and fire are experienced all over the jungle. Viewers see the helicopters as they drop the bombs and the destruction that is taking place. A beautiful man appears in the jungle but his image is upside down, he is shell-shocked and he looks lifeless. The man is smoking a cigarette that appears as if it is getting life from the fire of destruction. The man is alive but appears to be dead since he is hallucinating or he is remembering something in his life.       


Lighting is a crucial element in the movie together with the fogs and shadows. The look of the film is dark and shadowy incorporating the theme of war and the dark journey soldiers undertake. Willard begins the journey riding his boat at dusk. As the journey begins light are high but the film gets darker as the journey gets deeper and deeper. Lighting in the film represents dangers in the jungle and the metaphorical journey soldiers undertake in spiritual land. Lights in the film are brash and painful to the eyes as the blacks are demanding and tiresome. There are continuous shadows in the film whenever there is light. This is highly pronounced in the dossier on Kurtz (Marco, 2005, pp. 23). Even though dossier is met at the end, every close up of dossier has a deep shadow that separates it into half. This ensures that the viewers get a glimpse of everything happening in the movie. Practical lights are used in the shot scenes creating a realistic effect. No light is used in the boat thus creating an authentic situation.

Photographic Style

The sounds in the movie apocalypse precede the visuals. Most people rely on their ability to see but this is not the case in a war zone. This is because it is too dark to trust the eyes alone and people need to use their ears as well. Many films carve out of light but apocalypse is carved out of darkness. Darkness signifies the journey people are taking toward the heat of darkness, thus extremely low light characterizes the film (Thompson, 2007, pp. 234). Characters in the film are covered. These characters are masked closed up or they hard to understand. Viewers need to go closer to understand the characters in the film.


Colors in the film apocalypse reflect the emotions and journey. The movie starts with saturated colors putting the viewer in a different realm. The descriptions are deep and they are reminding the viewer that they still in earth even though they at war. At the start of the journey, we see the color of fog that deepens as Willard continues with the journey. The colors are soft as Willard continues with the journey.        

Camera Movement

Slow movement of cameras marks the movie apocalypse. The cameras are stationed in the boat for the viewer to see what the soldiers are experiencing. There are slow tracks, pans and slow movements I the film that are not fascinating. An interesting tracking shot is only interesting at the beginning of the movie when Willard is assigned the task of killing Kurtz. The viewer and the characters live and breathe from the same environment because cameras do not move often. There are few camera movements especially when Kilgore starts taking about Napalm (Galloway, 1996 pp. 256). He is always in full company of his soldiers when he is talking about Napalm. An effective tracking shot is when Willard is in Kurtz compound as he hears the divided souls of Kurtz. Willard is at the left side of the camera in his every interaction with Kurtz. 

According to Keller (2009), apocalypse utilizes the aspect of light while capturing the scenes, mainly evident in the way the viewers are able to see clearly, when soldiers are, in action in the jungle. Lighting in this film distinguishes between day and night. It also gives a sense of horror when something terrible is about to happen (Vineyard, 2000). Dark light in the hotel where the captain lives suggests that he is going through a rough time. This is true because he does not enjoy the luxury facilities in the hotel but prefers to stay indoors.

Camera movement in the film Apocalypse has taken into account many factors of the film for it to become a success (Lisboa, 2011, pp. 345). The characters in this film have assumed certain roles in the film that fit them well especially their traits. Mobile framing has incorporated various scenes to bring authenticity in the movie. When Captain Benjamin is in his hotel room, mobile framing captures the cigarettes and the liquor in the room mainly not intended to be in the film. The film has tilted the cameras in different angles capturing various sceneries brought together without conflicting with each other (Lisboa, 2011 pp. 245). War choppers are visible in the head of the captain as he imagines that he is in the jungle, yet he is in the hotel.

Additionally, Apocalypse has incorporated style, which heightens its audiences’ gluing aspect or interest (Keller, 2009). The style’s presentation of heroism and adventure is via captain Benjamin actions. For instance, this is evident especially via his emotions where he feels it is his responsibility to save fellow soldiers from the hands of Vietnam soldiers. Consequently, ensuring well flowing of the scenes especially the way he plans the saving missions where the viewer is capable of understanding the film’s theme (Moreau, 2011, pp. 250).

The film has controlled and connected numerous aspects making it extremely intriguing. There are many cameras used to capture the actions in the film apocalypse (Mitchell, 2001, pp. 234). This has allowed the viewer to have a better look and does not miss any action. The viewer can see all that is happening in the film besides cameras capturing other parts not intended to be in the film due to their framing effects that characterize the entire film, hence making it authentic to the viewers (Moreau, 2011). Cameras used in the film are remarkably clear, which makes pictures appear apparent besides their strategic placement to capture diverse actions in the film. This makes the pictures to be well visible because the cameras are not placed too far or too near when capturing the actions (Wheeler, 2005, pp. 82). The capturing of the film’s scenes is in the places well connected to the actions in the film, hence making it more authentic and fascinating to the viewer.

Sound aspects used in the film connect to the main actions. For illustration, sounds heard from the war chopper blades and flames of war are clearly visible. The film apocalypse has used the style of sound perfectly to make it more absorbing owing to its sound intensity variance depending on the kind of actions taking place (Dirks, 2012). In a situation where there is confrontation, the sound becomes intense, but in calm incidences, it is low. For instance, this is evident especially when a helicopter is approaching the intense sound increases mainly brought by whop-whop. Change of sound intensity in diverse situations makes the film ensure its flow, thus becoming more captivating. Besides, the film’s sound normally accompanies the film’s diverse actions, hence making it more gluing (Dirks, 2012). Additionally, diverse sound effects accompany the main characters while in the mission where tone and rhythm goes well with actions. For illustration, the use of a lance or arrows when the captain stealthily makes any pursuit where while moving keeps on varying with actions, which he makes.

The movie apocalypse has utilized the aspect of field and focus. Captain Willard and his soldiers are moving at different parts of the jungle. They are spotted at coastal mouth of the Nung River. Soldiers use this place for surfing to relax their minds from the impacts of the war. Focusing on the field is a significant aspect in movie making. This gives the viewer an idea regarding prior expectations of a particular scene. Apocalypse movie connects the field with the action-taking place thus making it be relevant to the viewers (Keller, 2009). Its focus also is on war impacts to the soldiers. Most of the soldiers are under the influence of drugs to deal with traumatic events of the war (Mascelli, 1965, pp.65). For instance, in the movie apocalypse, Lance and Chef are continually under the influence of drugs making them become withdrawn.

The movie apocalypse has efficiently used aspect ratio of letterboxing (LoBrutto, 2009). This preserves the aspect ratio of apocalypse movie on a narrower screen, hence assuming the right scale until it fits the width of the screen. In the movie apocalypse, the viewer can see how unseen enemies fire upon the boat (Viera, 1993). Through scaling the river and boat fit well on the screen to give the viewer a chance of catching all the action.

The movie apocalypse has used filters effectively in their cameras to avoid camera polarization. This is because light coming from river Nunga can have polarity effect on the cameras thus distorting the images. Camera crew in the movie apocalypse has used filters to block light coming from the waters of the river reaching the camera (Lamb, 2012, pp. 93). This ensures that the viewer has a clear view of the action-taking place. A spear pierces the chief while they are on the boat, and this is clearly visible despite light coming from the river to the camera. Dead bodies dot the banks of the river, which are clearly visible despite the light coming from the sky that can distort images.

Apocalypse film’s editing and its high quality of the pictures despite making the move more enthralling, it presents the utter worse side of war and its effects on humanity. This is contrary to its intention about anti-war message especially on the ordinary people who may not be aware of political on goings (Lamb, 2012). Kilgore during one of the film’s scenes, he shamelessly commands termination of the tree line with napalm besides other occasions where there is involvement of humanity. In addition, the film’s opening comprises of electrifying seven-minute’s frightening montage. This is the foreshadowing of what will constitute the entire movie, but it brings a staggering effect, which is confusing to the viewers. This is especially among those who do not have film-analyzing skills, where they will end up understanding the unfolding of events when it is quarter way to its mid. The film’s ending seems it writer rushed, where the war ends abruptly with the main character dropping the lance down and reconciling with the villagers (Keller, 2009). Hence, the end becoming more of fake than the entire previous cast, where the writer had intertwined the unfolding events effectively.


Apocalypse is a film that features Vietnamese at war. The film has controlled and connected various styles making it extremely intriguing. Sounding techniques used in the film connect to the main actions. The film Apocalypse has linked the acting process with various styles perfectly, which makes it fascinating for the viewer to watch. The film has tilted the cameras in different angles capturing various sceneries brought together without conflicting with each other. There is change of sound intensity depending on the action-taking place. In a situation where there is confrontation, the sound becomes intense but in situations where there is calmness, intensity is low. The capturing of the film’s scenes is in the places well connected to the actions in the film, hence making it more authentic and fascinating to the viewer. This is due to the editing, which has served in ensuring the intriguing factor of the movies besides interconnection of events that unfold in each scene. It is irrefutable editing aspect in each film plays a vital role, hence ensuring that it has maintained its gluing effect, which is evident in this movie. 


Dirks, T., 2012. Apocalypse now. Retrieved on September 15 2012 from, <>

Galloway, P., (1996). Heart of darkness and Apocalypse now, a comparative analysis of novella and film, retrieved on September 2012 from,< dApocalypseNow.pdf>

Keller, P., 2009. Landscape and cinematography, Cultural Geographies, 16, 3, pp. 409-414, viewed Marco, M., 2005. Field guide to the apocalypse:  Movie survival skills for the end of the world. New York:  Simon and Schuster

Lamb, B. 2012, 'Shoot to Thrill: The Camera in Action', Screen Education, 65, pp. 90-95, viewed 19 September 2012. <>

MASCELLI, J. V., 1965. The five C is of cinematography. United States of America: Silman-James Press

Mitchell, C. P., 2001. A guide to apocalyptic cinema. Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

Moreau, A., 2011. Applying Photo Principles to Event Cinematography, Eventdv, 24, 5, p. 34, viewed 19 September 2012. <>

Viera, D., 1993. Lighting For Film and Electronic Cinematography. Wadsworth, USA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Vineyard, J., 2000. Setting Up Your Shots. United States of America: Michael Wiese Publications.

Wheeler, P., 2005. Practical Cinematography. Great Britain: Focal Press.

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