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Film Review - Godfather, The
One of my major complaints about filmmakers these days is that so many of them don't know how to tell a story cimematically. By that I mean filmmakers rely too much on the soundtrack to tell a story rather than the pictures themselves. But this is known as the picture business.
Francis Ford Coppola is certainly a major exception to this generalization. In his 1972 film The Godfather, Coppola chronicles the fall from grace of Michael Corleone. Michael, a World War II hero, has decided to stay out of the family's racketeering business. Coppola never stops to explain anything to the audience with words. In fact, there are several sequences where the audience just wanders through the film, observing the players.
Michael is our focus in Godfather. He begins his journey down the dark path when a rival family attempts to assassinate his father. In seeking revenge, Michael murders two of the rivals, and must leave the country. Next, he is shoved a little further when, while hiding in Sicily, his wife is murdered. And finally, when his brother Sonny is murdered, Michael is thrust to the head of the family business.
Michael is now completely converted. He never realizes he is doing exactly the opposite of what he wanted. Coppola does a marvelous job of illustrating how people wander through their own lives. Some have plans and some don't, but they allow others to steer them instead of having the strength to walk their own path.
In Michael's case, his complete loss of direction is demonstrated while he is becoming the Godfather to his nephew. As he declares his belief in God and Jesus, we witness numerous murders ordered by him, which visually are in complete contradiction to the words he is speaking. As you look into Michael's eyes, you know he believes in the words he is saying.
Whenever this film is brought up, the stars are usually at the top of the conversation. You bet: Brando, Caan and Pacino are great. Look at the supporting cast; it's equally incredible. But clearly the real star of The Godfather is its director. Without Coppola, this film would have just been another gangster movie. Instead, it is the film that all movies about the Mafia will forever be compared to.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Released in 1972
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo