The clip from ‘Apocalypse Now’ known as “the roach” scene presents characters in a trench, one manning a large gun and attempting to shoot down the enemy across what we assume is some sort of battlefield or no man’s land type situation, who we then learn is a lone man trapped under a pile of his deceased comrades calling out for help. In an attempt to silence him and not draw any more attention to their location they call a man known as “the roach” who fires off a grenade which impacts and we no longer hear the man’s cries. Meanwhile Martin Sheen is asking who the officer in command is while getting no response and who we assume to be his companion in this scene, mounts the wall of the trench and sits atop it while holding a puppy and a casually unaware look on his face hinting at his level of intelligence before Martin Sheen calls him back down by name. Just by watching this clip alone having not viewed the film in some time, a lot of assumptions are being made. Bordwell & Thompson speak to this when saying that viewers make assumptions and inferences about what’s being presented to understand film and the filmmakers steer us in certain ways in order to assist (Bordwell, 2013). The scene is complete chaos and in a way, sums up the film in a sense and its commentary on the Vietnam war, it is also well known that the making of the film was complete madness and has been said that anything that could’ve gone wrong, did.
Bordwell, D. & Thompson, K. (2013). “Narrative Form”. Film Art: An Introduction, (10th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 75