The Godfather Reviews
BUT (and I put a huge but), I do not believe it is the greatest movie of all time.
Here come the FLAMERS! TAKE COVER!
Yes, I said it. "The Godfather" is not the greatest movie of all time.
I agree that "The Godfather" is crafted beautifully at an epic scale, but the pacing is much to be desired for and this is merely a Hollywood blockbuster, believe it or not -- albeit, one of the greatest Hollywood blockbusters. Everything, down to the script, narrative, cinematography, camerawork, direction, editing, and acting are all exquisitely done in an immaculate fashion, but that's what "The Godfather" merely is: a Hollywood blockbuster. I can't stress this enough. There are plenty of other movies, older and newer, that though genre wise may be different, exceed "The Godfather" emotionally, symbolically, and personally. In no way am I trying to stand out among a crowd of "The Godfather" lovers, nor am I trying to think that I'm smarter than everyone.
Such high talks about such a film comes deserved for sure, but perhaps it may have been a bit over exaggerated in my opinion. Please, don't get me wrong: "The Godfather" is an impeccable masterpiece. Masterpiece, it is. Greatest movie of all time, it isn't. With that out of the way, I recommend all filmgoers, young, old, the film noob, the average joe, or the long-time film enthusiast to sulk themselves into this film -- just ignore what everyone says about this movie and watch it as it is.
Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is introduced on the day of his daughter's wedding, a very special day in Sicilian tradition where the father of the bride is to deny no man a special favour. The beneficiaries' utmost respect for the Don is illustrated in the opening stanza, their displays of courtesy coming in the form of personal address and greeting rituals. The Don is a man of respect and principle, a man who puts emphasis on what's fair, denying to avenge, for example, a father's anguish over the rape of his daughter by means of murder - 'That is not justice; your daughter's still alive'.
In other circles however; the Don is not so respected. Vito Corleone is an old fashioned Don, what is referred to as a 'Moustache Pete'; he is reluctant to delve into the business of drugs, unlike the contemporaries from the rival New York crime families. The Don's refusal turns the relationship between the Corleones and many of the other families sour. It is how the ensuing violence is regarded as just 'business' that is the cold, harsh danger of the film. Its depiction of violence is visceral and often occurs when not expected. Rather quickly, the Corleone criminal empire falls apart; the next generation having to revitalise the family and reclaim their place at the top of the five families.
The film is perfectly cast; the primary characters of Vito (Marlon Brando), Sonny (James Caan), Michael (Al Pacino), Fredo (John Cazale), Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano) and Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) are all expertly interpreted from Mario Puzo's magnum opus. The scores of supporting actors are also without fault; it's a true acting showcase. After reading the novel, it's remarkable how faithfully envisioned the characters are in the film, which is thanks to a combination of physicality and astute interpretation.
The Godfather is a brilliant adaptation of Mario Puzo's masterfully told story; the 1969 novel was written with such an authenticity that it almost seems like non-fiction in certain passages. I think it's true that when one thinks of a gangster, they picture the omnipotent Vito Corleone sitting back in his chair, his glum face contemplating with that infinite sagacity and authority. The Godfather is a true spectacle in both mediums; deciding which is best is a difficult task.
The only aspect that I felt was stronger in the book was character development. The character of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is given greater depth in the novel; Michael's transcendence seeming comparatively abrupt in the celluloid interpretation. The character of Luca Brasi is abundantly more powerful in the book, whom whilst is an ally of the Corleone family, is penned as an ominous nemesis with a dark, brutal secret. The film, meanwhile, essentially depicts Brasi as an oaf; he is a far less intimidating figure. Additionally, many of the supporting characters are also given interesting back stories by Puzo, notably Captain McCluskey. Of course, that level of intricacy is possible in a novel, while a film could easily become bloated with such detailing.
Ultimately, 'The Godfather' is a film made by a highly talented crew who combined the seminal prose of a skilled author with brilliant direction, perfect performances, effective cinematography and the utterly beautiful, distinctive music of Nino Rota and Carlo Savina to produce one of the best, well rounded and moving films ever made. It is a film that is wholly deserving of the term 'required viewing'.
***** 5 Star
The cast and acting are top notch of course. Brando is fantastic, and Pacino's turn from a decent soldier boy to the next Godfather is outstanding. The plot does move slowly at times but has several really exciting and violent scenes to offer. What surprised me is the fact that this movie makes you care for these characters even though they are criminals. By the end of the film you want them to have their bloody revenge. Sadly, their dealing with personal loss sometimes feels a but rushed, giving them a bit of an indifferent feel. That doesn't change the fact that by the end of the film you want to turn on the sequel right away, which is always a great thing to say about a movie. Not entirely my cup of tea, but deservedly a classic.