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Essay about Movie versus Film: Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

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Throughout the history of our technological age, film makers have spotted the brilliance of classic novels and have, thus, envisioned taking the work of literature and forming it into a film in hopes to portray the genius of the novel within their medium. One such example is that of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now. In Conrad’s work, his use of imagery, diction, and tone elevate his novel to the pinnacle of imperialistic writing while Coppola’s film uses sound, light, visual stimulants, as well as facial expressions to craft his work while portraying the emotion felt within Conrad’s piece. In Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, the way Conrad and Coppola use the tools of their craft to enhance their story of savage imperialism is clearly seen through the similarities and differences of the two works.
Within the entirety of both artistic works, similarities are able to be drawn. As the character of Kurtz lives within the Congo or the parallel jungles of Vietnam, his surroundings begin to overtake him thus his inner savagery makes itself evident. Within the novel, Kurtz develops from the honorable man whom everyone at home adores to the ferocious character who plants the heads of his neighbors on stakes. Akin to Kurtz’s transformation, Charlie Marlow’s metamorphosis from the naïve man who was sent to rescue Kurtz believing he was respectable and decent based on the previous testimonies he had heard of him to the awakened and enlightened one that realize at the end of the works that the man that he was sent to to save is in fact not the same man he was preparing to meet. Within the ending scene of the film where Willard brutally murders Kurtz, Willard’s progression to...


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...of the coinciding murders to creatively illustrate the vicious, savage slaughters.
Though both Joseph Conrad’s work Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s work Apocalypse Now depict the same savage, inhumane overarching theme, the creative ways about which the writers chose to depict this theme are on similar as well as different planes with respect to their medium. Despite using separate methods, both were able to fully and wholly illustrate the savage character development within their works. While Conrad’s use imagery, diction, and tone to uplift his novel within the world of literature, Coppola’s usage of sound, light, and visual stimulants add an element to his work which Conrad was not able to obtain. Regardless of the mediums used to obtain such, both the author and producer were successful in achieving such an accurate portrayal of savagery.



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