Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Company: Paraount Pictures / Zoetrope Studios
Runtime: 162 minutes
Perhaps, it’s one of the most underrated movies ever made.
The movies starts with the series of shots in an old house and the lake that’s near it. And after that, we are introduced to a very different Michael Corleone, much different from the last installment. He is being given the knighthood by the church. Because he wants to change for the good, he sold all of his business that are illegal. He also tried to cut his relationships with the mob, or I should say the businessmen with illegal businesses. Circumstances refuse him to leave the circle of the gang.
First of all, dare I say it, this is the most entertaining and most watchable of the trilogy. It always is a thrilling experience to watch. And I think it got horrendously lambasted is, aside from Sofia Coppola who was not bad nor great, it shifted tone considerably. This more of the family. It’s less gangster here. It’s because Michael himself wants to change. And he goes to a different world, away from the mafia.
Basically, it is Coppola’s massive achievement. The whole film was made in such a way that it calms the audience when there is no violence, but when it’s intense, it’s so in it. It was all his work. Several scenes are so big that it could have been a misfit from the film, but Coppola is a born storyteller. He knows what to do. And his towering glory here is the final thirty minutes of unbearable tension. I mean, who could have done better than that? To interweave several plotlines in those last minutes of the film is a stroke of brilliance from him. The whole sequence could have been just a montage of murders, but Coppola knows how to build things up, he knows when to place this scene, he knows what’s the right scene to follow the other one. And he knows how to intensify the atmosphere. So, emotionally, it feels like the whole sequence is an explosion. He knows that his movie is an epic. And he knows that he needs to end his movie in an epic way. And he does it so great.
The screenplay, also written by him and Mario Puzo, is also excellent. It doesn’t make a single movie. Sure, it has the most far-fetched ideas for a Godfather movie – Vatican, incest? Those are so far from it but it was so well-made that it actually fit in the movie. Yes, even the incest. And most of the lines are completely justifiable by the characters. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” That is one epic line. It is the declaration of what happens to Michael. He was a long-time suppressed character. In the first two installments, he was never outspoken. He always keeps things to a low. Here, he’s calm, but he’s already able to release his emotions. That was spoken in an angry manner. But he was not just angry. He was desperate.
And that’s what made the acting worth it. Al Pacino knows his character had changed dramatically. He now wants to be a better man. But circumstances would not allow him to. And he knows he is aging. And he knows Michael is in a crisis. And he knows everything is going wrong when he wants to be right. And he plays it so well.
Andy Garcia was also on the top of his game as Vincent Mancini-Corleone. He’s so in the character. His character was like a modern-day Michael. He was semi-rebellious, but he is no-nonsense, he’s smart, and he knows who’s who and what’s where, and things like that. He is dependable, but he knows Vincent isn’t perfect. He knows his character gets stubborn at times. And he knows he is a man of a gentle heart.
Diane Keaton and Talia Shire, though both great here, are unfortunately forgettable. They both get the fair share of scenes, they know the conflicts of their characters, and they know that they need to do because in the world they are moving, they should not be stupid. Talia’s Connie is already a sign of strength and authority, but she’s a woman hiding from a very soft nature. He cares for Michael, but she needs to be strong. She needs to be outspoken. Keaton’s Kay Adams, on the other hand, is a woman of such keeping that she just shows her real self when Michael does. She was quite unsure of Michael, because he’s changed. But she still doubts him.
The other woman, Sofia Coppola, as Mary, was not bad nor great. She serves her character. She knows her character. And that’s what to root from her character. I know she could have been better, and I know another actress could have given a better performance for Mary, but there’s no denying that Sofia played her character quite well. Not outstanding, but not Razzie-winning. The other members of the cast did well to this massive ensemble of actors.
I can’t say anything more for the technical part. Cinematography was excellent, editing was flawless, sound was clear, music was beautiful, costumes and production design was appropriate.
But I don’t want to overrate it to the fullest. I admit it has its faults: Sofia Coppola, though not necessarily bad, was the weakest link to the head strong cast, the movie being a dependent movie to the first two. The film was beautiful. I have seen it after the first two installments, so I didn’t have problems with it. But to the young viewers, it’s much better if you visit the first two before this because some details are like references from the first two that you might not get the feel of the movie if you haven’t watched the two. It could have been much better if it was made like a movie that can be watched by anyone first before the other two.
Don’t get me wrong: I love this movie, but I tried to get the view from a first-time Godftaher movie goer who wants to see this film first that the other two. It’s certainly entertaining, it is a beautifully made film, but it’s really much better if you watch the first two before this.
This is a wonderfully crafted, totally satisfying ride for moviegoers, especially for a Godfather trilogy fan, but it’s not with the minor flaws. But those faults are very minimal and they’re all forgivable, and I don’t want to hide the fact that I like it very much and it is a sumptuous movie experience.
For this, the movie gets :
What are your thoughts, dear reader?