The Godfather (2 Reviews)
The Godfather (1972) – Originally written August 2003 AND July 2004
*** These reviews may contain spoilers ***
First Review – 27th August 2003
Ok, I’m two hours into this film and I just don’t get the hype and appeal. I admit my choices in movie are varied (my top five films are “American Beauty”, “Donnie Darko”, “Casablanca”, “Henry V” and “When Harry Met Sally”), but I watched this film with possibly too much expectation. A friend of mine adores this film, and any Mafia film in general, and along with the vast majority of imdb members, he recommended this film to me. The problem is, why?
Don’t get me wrong though, before someone starts to condemn me, I appreciate the acting, I understand that Al Pacino performs stunningly throughout, I admit that Marlon Brando is another highlight (although his voice annoys me slightly throughout), but I just don’t see why people adore this film. Ok, after reading reviews, the obvious differences between people are blatant. Some people adore this film and consider it the best ever, some dislike it. All that is fair enough. Sadly though, I feel I am slightly more towards the later. I don’t dislike this film, it has highlights, but I can’t help but feel it is long winded, infuriatingly complicated & at times, ridiculously slow. Graphically, it is superb, acting is tremendous, but I just feel the plot doesn’t hold upto scratch.
Perhaps I am a fool, but I just fail to get the hype. Perhaps if I was more of a fan of Mafia films I’d appreciate it more, perhaps. Perhaps if I’d seen it at the cinema in 1972 I’d love it, perhaps. However, after watching it at such a relatively late age of 20 in 2003, I might enjoy this film, I might like a few scenes a lot, but I really fail to understand how it could make it to number 1 in people’s lists. I guess in the end of the day, it is all down to opinion.
Second Review – 8th July 2004
For the sake of a personal confession, this review of the Godfather is not as neutral and objective as it should be. For that I apologise, but with good reason.
In August 2003, after watching “The Godfather” in what I assume now must have been a tired state, I condemned and criticised this film for being overrated, drawn out and dull. Today on the eighth of July 2004, I apologise for such a flawed review. “The Godfather”, whilst still perhaps not worthy of it’s number one slot, is one of the best films ever created.
In this film, we are introduced to the Corleone family. The story starts at the wedding of Connie Corleone to Carlo Rizzi. As is tradition amongst Sicillian families, Connie’s father, The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone hands out favours to those who respectfully ask for his help. At the wedding as well are the Don’s other children, Fredo (John Cazale), the violent Sonny (James Caan) and the youngest, the war hero, Michael (Al Pacino). Over two and a half hours of film later and the lives of Vito and his family are changed forever as this one Gangland family fights with external and internal problems.
“The Godfather” is a beautiful piece of cinema. With the late Marlon Brando putting in a fine performance as Vito, the film had a figurehead character. Ultimately however, it is Al Pacino who deserves most praise. Rarely can there be shown in a film such a dramatic change in a character over such a space of time. Going from a law abiding war hero returning from the Second World War with medals and a beautiful wife, Pacino’s Michael gradually changes in appearance and style as he takes his place at the head of the family. Everything about him is designed to show the change in his character. His hair changes style, his clothes change style, even his face changes mannerisms (although partly due to his jaw being broken by a corrupt police chief). Pacino as Michael demonstrates just how truely awesome an actor he is.
The acting alone is not just what makes this film great. The way in which characters are added and removed from the story is clever. Nobody is too good a character to be written out and everybody is given a chance to play a key role in the events.
The musical direction of “The Godfather” is another part of it’s beauty. As well as the obvious piece of music which everyone is aware of, the ways in which sound is used to keep our attention at times is superb. The background music and the location from Michael’s time in Italy is beautiful. All in all, there’s nothing which can be faulted.
When I originally wrote a review for this film last year, I complained of how it was overrated and dull, that is a mistake I now regret. “The Godfather” is a beautiful film that I might not necessarily place at number one in the internet movie database all time list, but which I can see why it is there. This film is a piece which everyone should be forced to watch and a piece which, if they pay attention to it, they will love.