Study Guide

Apocalypse Now Scene 2

Scene 2

Scene 2

Snail's Trail

  • Willard and the two other guys get out of a helicopter at a Landing Zone. Willard reports to a general with another officer who happens to be Han Solo. Well, he's some officer played by Harrison Ford.
  • They quiz Willard about his former black-ops intelligence missions, working for the CIA, and assassinating people. Willard denies all this, but then says he's not authorized to talk about it if it is true. (It is.)
  • The general invites him to sit down and eat.
  • The guy who looks like Han Solo gives Willard a picture of Colonel Kurtz, the subject of his mission. He plays him a radio recording of Colonel Kurtz talking about a nightmare he had of a snail crawling along a straight razor. That's something you can't un-hear.
  • Sounds like Kurtz is losing it.
  • Kurtz's voice starts rambling about killing villages and armies and animals.
  • The general says that Kurtz used to be a great soldier and a humanitarian. But after he joined the Special Forces, he started doing crazy things.
  • Kurtz has recruited a local army from the mountain tribes who worship him like a god.
  • He's started executing people without permission, so now he's wanted for murder.
  • The general says that in the conflict between good and evil in the human heart, sometimes the dark side starts to win. Kurtz has definitely been lost to the dark side.
  • Willard agrees—it definitely sounds like he's nuts.
  • Finally, they give him his mission: locate Kurtz up the river in Cambodia, learn about him, and "terminate Kurtz's command…with extreme prejudice."
  • That means kill him.
  • They give Willard a cigarette. He smokes it and looks at them.
  • He accepts the mission.

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