Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Godfather Trilogy

The saga of the Corleone crime family and their struggle to hold on from power and their fall from grace, as the sins of the father are passed on to his favorite son and the latter loses his soul. What more can be said about The Godfather films that hasn't already been said? Francis Ford Coppola's first two installments, made in collaboration with the source author Mario Puzo, are some of the finest examples of modern storytelling and moviemaking that we have. From the plot subtleties to the iconic performances (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro) to Gordon Willis' breathtaking photography and Nino Rota's unforgettable score and even the somewhat unsung supporting performances (John Cazale, Richard Castellano, John Marley, Michael Gazzo, Lee Strasberg). Then there is the dreadful Part III, a film I was ready to defend, until realizing how poorly realized it is upon a recent viewing. Here Coppola does everything he seemed to be trying to avoid doing in the earlier films, and presents a horrible screenplay with godawful acting, which is abetted somewhat by good direction, yet is still a black eye on an otherwise exceptional and unsurpassable series.