Thursday, June 5, 2008

Father Crime: The Godfather

Francis Ford Coppola made himself a film legend with this classic mafia movie, and for good reason. This film deserves much praise for every detail. It is a 175 minute opus, and it has some of the most grand scope of any movie ever. It switches from the rich backdrop of 1940's New York to the amazing country side of Sicily, and then back again in great fashion. The violence is handled perfectly, with a limited amount of the bloodshed for such a genre, yet there are still many scenes of it. And, of course, the acting is spectacular. Marlon Brando as the mafia godfather Don Vito Corleone is great, as he is serious and somewhat silly at the same time with his Italian lisp. Robert Duvall is also good as the foundling who was taken into the family and now is a major part. James Caan also deserves kudos for his portrayal of Sonny, who is much more interested in violence and strategy, and, because he is the oldest son, is sure he is the perfect choice as the successor of Vito. But it is Al Pacino who trumps the competition as Michael Corleone. The most disturbing thing in this movie, past the horse heads and stabbed hands and stranglings, is the transformation of Michael from the innocent young war vet (he even said to his sweetheart Diane Keaton that he had nothing to do with the family) to the family patriarch, basically taking the place of Don as the new senseless dealmaker. It probably wasn't his first hit, but in fact his trip to Italy, where his short-lived wife (Simonetta Stefanelli) was tragically car bombed. It's extremely sad to see such a nice young man turn terrible. Anyways, this movie also spawned the phrases "I'll give him an offer he can't refuse" and "He was swimming with the fishes." It also is obviously the inspiration for such movies as Goodfellas. There is not much to say about this movie, other than that it is one of the greatest films of all time and it deserves all the honors, if not more. Gangster movies nowadays lack the vision of such a director and are more urban thrillers than mafioso epics. This one definitely falls in the latter category, because it is epic. As I stated before, it clocks in at an astounding 175 minutes, something you don't see these days anymore. It is an intense experience to watch this movie, but if Don Corleone had been real, that would have made him proud, and for good reason. There will never be another film as rich, grand, and epic as "The Godfather." There are aspects of this film that can not ever be re-created, and no special effects will ever help that. A

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