There are wonderful moments: Kinski silencing a jungle full of drums by broadcasting Caruso through his big-horned gramophone, the first apparition of the massed canoes in the river, the Indians gliding like ghosts about the ship or sitting in massed ranks to watch the four white men eat dinner. Yes, this is a great movie- in parts. But the footage of the ship going up the hill isn't all that spectacular, really; David Lean would have framed it better; so would many others. And after all that staring into the heart of darkness the ironic ending is abrupt and trite. There are ragged edges too- the lip-sync is abominable- and it's obvious that by the time they came to shoot the final scenes Claudia Cardinale had long since schlepped off back to Europe- sensible girl- and her presence had to be patched in from what was already in the can.
These days Herzog mostly makes documentaries. And that's essentially what this is too. It's a documentary about a situation contrived by its director. The wonder is that no-one was killed.