The first time I saw this I didn’t quite get it – I actually found it rather boring and in many ways I still do. I know that it’s against normal popularity – but I’ll just say it anyway. The Godfather defines the Mafia genre – however it is not as much a Mafia movie but more like a grand family drama. So in turn all Mafia movies tries to be like The Godfather and they all end up being more or less successful family dramas. So in many ways The Godfather did not only define the genre but also destroy it.
Here we see Marlon Brandon as the Family (God)father that has good values and has protected these values with a hard hand. However he is getting old and new interests wants to get in. This time around (as well as many other times) its called drugs – and when Marlon Vito denies drugs things starts to get nasty. Al Pacino on the other hand is the only one of the family members with a brain enough to take over family business – but Al Martin rather wants to something completely else.
But of course he stands up and take’s over business and becomes the new Godfather and kills all competition.
There is something true in that no one is ever able to take over the creation of someone else. Martin does a good job – but however the strain is though for him and in the fight of preserving his fathers values and taking care of the family – he instead looses touch of his family and even ends up killing his own brother. No that’s what we call pride.
During the movie Martin gets darker and darker and turns out to be a mere shadow. The weight of his responsibilities is too much. However he manages to bring the family wealth and influence to heights his father Vito could only dream of.
Also as often happens in sequels is that no suddenly Martin talkes Italian really good while in the first movie he spoke English even when he was in Italy. Maybe his dead wife thought him some tricks.
We also see a young Robert De Niro playing Vito’s early years – and while girls love it for being Robert – most of the happenings are mere waste of time and only building up to the last moment when Al Pacino and Robert almost meet’s (as we know we have to wait for the coffee scene in Heat for it to really happen). The other thing we learn here is that in his early years Vito liked to do the dirty business himself and over the years he did not only turn into Marlon but also let others take over the dirty parts of business.
This is definitely the darkest of the movies. It shows more locations and also has a lot more beautiful shots.
This is in fact my favorite because 6 hours of movie history is finally summed up in another 3 hours extravagance. Of course Martin needs to increase his power and wealth even further and what is more natural than Europe and all the way up to the Pope. This side story is even less interesting here and at times pretty useless and confusing. What we really want to know is – Who is going to take over business and will Vinny mange it?
Time has passed and Martin is old. Its 1971 about the same time as part one was made. No matter how much Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s action has been blessed in the earlier parts they have both become much better actors in time (and not just look) and its just much more enjoyable to see how much better Al acts Martin this time around.
Martin sees death is coming and is starting to regret his earlier faults – he seeks redemption – a chance to correct it – but how do you correct the murder of your own brother?
One of the things is to not repeat story and let his son do what he wants instead of taking over the family – however hard they make the choice seem – Tony doesn’t have the character to do it anyway so the choice is actually quite easy.
Francis Ford Coppola has a slow paste to tell all these things on – some people find it so that he crams loads of stories in this time – but in reality he tells things dead, dead slow and then suddenly (again it seems sudden because the increase in paste) changes happen really fast, then again to slow out. Together with the emphasis in family drama I think this paste changes is the key to Francis incredible success.
Again where did Al get this love, affection and of all knowledge of Sicilly from? Again like his Italian from his short hideout in Corleone?
When all pieces is laid together we are presented with a long fast paste ending with another dramatically and sad ending. The shots are more modern but still grand and beautiful – but maybe not as good as in part II.
In all it’s a pretty sad tale from beginning to end. A tale about family values and even more about pride.
It is said that this story is so good it would be something like this Shakespeare would have written had he lived today and I guess that’s a pretty medal for Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo! But again as you see in my last post – I don’t care much for Shakespeare.