Heart of Darkness (1994)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Heart of Darkness Photos

Movie Info

Previously the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), the dark novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a parable about greed-inspired colonialism, was adapted into this television movie by offbeat filmmaker Nicolas Roeg. Ambitious sailor Marlow (Tim Roth) is employed by a British trading company. His mission is a journey to a remote colony in the Belgian Congo, the source of the consortium's profitable supply of ivory, where he's to retrieve some stranded cargo. As he travels upriver visiting the trading stations which acquire the precious commodity through exploitative barter with natives, Marlow hears wild tales of Kurtz (John Malkovich), a hugely-successful company manager whose post is deep in the jungle. It seems that Kurtz is revered as a god by the locals, both worshipped and greatly feared. Reaching Kurtz's compound, however, Marlow finds that the man has become a fiend, committing blasphemous atrocities and driven mad by power and disease. Malkovich was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for his performance as Kurtz.
Action & Adventure , Drama , Special Interest , Television
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Turner Entertainment


Tim Roth
as Marlow
Timothy Bateson
as Accountant
James Fox
as Gosse
Morten Faldaas
as Harlequin
Patrick Ryecart
as De Griffe
Geoffrey Hutchings
as Delcommune
Peter Vaughan
as Director
Charles Kay
as Secretary
Phoebe Nichols
as The Intended
Ian McDiarmid
as Doctor
as Black Beauty
Phoebe Nicholls
as The Intended
Stephen Oxley
as Lawyer
John Savident
as Company Director
Alan Scarfe
as Captain Fenard
Jan Triska
as White Agent
Michael Cronin
as Louette
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Heart of Darkness

All Critics (5)

It's a faithful and respectable version of Conrad's great classic, but not one that's memorable or exciting.

Full Review… | February 24, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

No excerpt available.

October 8, 2005
Fantastica Daily

No excerpt available.

July 23, 2005

No excerpt available.

October 21, 2002
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999

Audience Reviews for Heart of Darkness

Eccentric British director Nicholas Roeg's adaptation of Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella, Heart of Darkness, was a somewhat accurate reflection of Conrad, but was in no means memorable nor enjoyable. I have seem few films that have made me seriously contemplate suicide- violent suicide- rather than watch the film for a second time. Roeg's cast choice was disappointing. Casting John Malkovich as Kurtz, a man who works for the company as a manager running a successful outpost in the Congo, was a huge slap to Conrad's vision, and mine. He failed to capture the true essence of Kurtz. Although Malkovich was a poor choice, Roeg did not completely disappoint with casting Tim Roth as Marlow, an ambitious sailor and employee of the British trading company. Roth delivered a captivating performance. He was relatable, but not overly dramatic, as Kurtz was in the movie. For example, Roeg added the scene where Kurtz mercilessly murdered a monkey, which was not in Conrad's work. That scene was indeed shocking and unnecessary. Conrad's novel conveyed a clear picture of his vision of Kurtz, an authoritative villain. In addition, Conrad's overall meaning to Heart of Darkness was overshadowed by Roeg's miserable interpretation. Kurtz was a character noted for his development as a monster driven to madness by disease and his hunger for power. Roeg conveyed Kurtz as a power-hungry man, but made no connection with the movie-viewers, nor did he provide enough insight to understand Kurtz's struggle. I strongly recommend not watching this film. Don't waster 100 minutes of your life. Pick up the book instead.

Kirby Lawrence
Kirby Lawrence

The narrative is rather straight-forward (a bit unexpected considering it's directed by Nicolas Roeg). Despite being made for TV, production-wise the movie is not bad. Unfortunately the story falls flat, especially when Kurtz finally makes appearance, and it just becomes unconvincing and pointless at that point. John Malkovich's uninspired performance doesn't help, either.

Gabriel Knight
Gabriel Knight

Quite an odd movie. Yet very good. Interesting nonetheless. Even kind of creepy at times. Good cast.

Amanda Ø.
Amanda Ø.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Heart of Darkness on our Movie forum!

News & Features