April 2014

Paradox Now

Considering that I’ve only just managed to finish watching the film today, I feel like now I’m better able to write a (good) blog post. So here it goes.

I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming number of hypocrises, contradictions and ironies dispersed throughout the movie. Most notably in the extreme hypocrisy of the American Army, who say they are intervening against the Communists in the name of liberty and democracy. But clearly, death and destruction are the only real results of American involvement within the Vietnam War. While the Vietnamese go about their daily lives, soldiers swoop in from the sky, gunning down Viet Cong and innocent civilians alike.

Moreover, it seems strange to me that they choose to assassinate Kurtz of all people. Amid the group’s many senseless killings and the Army’s slaughter of native Vietnamese en masse, spending all that effort, time and lives to terminate one crazy individual seems like a task put together by, well, crazy individuals.

Is Kurtz the only empty or “hollow man”? Not so; many other US troops seem hollow as well. The filmmaker near the beginning of the movie, who films the soldiers as they run past, transforms the war into popular entertainment back home. Deprived of some much needed R&R, the group stumbles upon a Playboy Playmate show, where sex-deprived men oggle over women they will never be able to have–meanwhile, innocent lives are being taken. This just goes to show how empty their values are.

These are just some of the obvious ones. Another one would be at the beginning of the movie, where The Doors’ song “The End” plays. The list goes on and on…

As the people in my seminar know, I do have an unhealthy fascination with paradoxes and irony.