The Godfather, Part III Reviews
The film opens at the Corleone compound in Colorado that is now deserted. Instead, the Corleone's live in an ambiguous location. I never really figured it out, but they don't live there anymore. It also opens with the famous theme song. I love that song, but they really amp it up in this one. I don't know if it's because there was almost two decades between films and they want to play up the nostalgia, but it kind of gets old. They play it at the least dramatic times just because they didn't have any other songs for the soundtrack (they do towards the end kind of). Anyway, we're re-introduced to Connie, Michael, Kay (now remarried to another man), and their two teenage kids Mary and Anthony. Anthony doesn't want to be a part of the Mafia and wants to become an opera singer. Kay persuades Michael and he reluctantly agrees to give up his first son. But that's not a problem because Sonny's bastard son Vinnie comes in to become the next Don. Michael is preoccupied with making his business legitimate. Now that's he's old and almost dying because of diabetes he wants to make sure he and his family are insured for the afterlife. He's christened by the Pope and gets an award, and then buys out the Vatican by getting them out of debt. This way, the new pope will let him have control over the Vatican's huge real-estate company Immobiliare, which Michael wants to turn into conglomerate. Vinnie and Mary end up having a romantic relationship for a bit, but don't when Michael tells Vinnie not to because Mary could die in the cross fire like his first love, Appolina (who they finally talk about! Yay!). Michael tells his kids about her and that he loved her. Michael and Kay even talk about her. I'm glad they stopped sweeping her under the rug. Michael's family and Kay go to Sicily to see Anthony's debut in the opera. During the opera it end's like the first one. With multiple killings by Corleone's men to secure his family's fortune. Connie even kills someone with some poisonous conolis. No one dies during the opera, but at the end when everyone is leaving Mary confronts her father about dating Vinnie. She gets shot by the assassin instead of Michael. Proving to Kay once and for all that she should "dread" Michael. Not only that, but Michael realizes that his life will never be legitimate. The last scene is Michael dying alone in Sicily.
Overall, I liked the film a lot. But some things weren't very believable knowing the characters that were established in previous films. I think Michael's character was really well fleshed out and nothing the did felt fake or forced. The futility of Michael's life and a life in the Mafia and not glorifying it is really great. Some characters on the other hand such as Kay and Connie weren't consistent. Some things could also be explained better. I know that exposition isn't what draws people into the Godfather, but when it's not there things can get really confusing for viewers who don't pay attention. Also, are we going to talk about the KKK Catholic hoods? It reminds me of the reverse swatstika on Buddha's stomach...wouldn't at least Kay be like, "what the fuck is that?"
Now let's address the elephant in the room, Sofia Coppola's performance. God, was it awful. Every line delivery was the same. She had no range in her acting or voice or facial expressions. Everything looks constrained and fake. Or that she doesn't care about what she's saying. Her performance reminded me we need some fiction in movies based in reality. Sure people talk the way she talks in real life, but actors need to exaggerate. Ironically, actors imbue our reality with fiction to make it seem real - and her "acting" is the reason why. Maybe we should DO THAT TAKE AGAIN?! Yes some actors go too over the top, but that's a lot better than talking how they actually talk.
Overplaying of the Godfather theme, it's a great song, but really unnecessary. If anything, it ruins the theme by shoving it down your throat. But, I didn't think it was as gimmicky as people told me it would be (with that helicopter shooting, Vatican, and Pope and what not), but I didn't like how Michael cursed so much. Sure the younger generation can, but not Michael. I also think Connie forgiving Michael was really unrealistic, but I guess it was established in the second film that she submitted to him in order to have the lifestyle she wanted. But she surely wouldn't be condoning Michael's killing of Freddie. But I guess they're all each other has...Kay forgiving Michael actually seemed believable to me. Their acting really sold it for me. Lastly, I love how tragic it is at the end when Mary dies. Kay realizes she'll never be able to forgive or stop dreading Michael.
I didn't think the Pope and the Vatican addition was outlandish for the mafia. What I did think was strange was that Michael was chill about giving press conferences, he's a DON for Christ sakes. He's supposed to stay in the shadows and be mysterious. That's what creates the grand illusion and for people to fear and respect him. How can we respect Michael when he's parading himself around to mafia outsiders? I guess he does that because he's trying to be more legitimate...? I do like the ending and I had a feeling Mary would die. I also knew that the family money would go to Vinnie and that he would take over the family business. In the end, Michael dies alone, an illegitimate man. Just like he always says, "every time [he] gets out, they want to pull [him] back in." And "the higher up his position is, the harder it is to get out."
I loved the cinematography. It's still a Francis Ford Coppola film, the direction is great. A lot of the shots look like photographs. The color scheme is great. I love the little pieces of color in the dusty scenes of Sicily.
Overall, it's not as good as the first (nothing will ever be, not even the second), but it's not horrible. It's not unwatchable or gives a bad name to the franchise. Overall it's a solid 8/10. If you're a die hard Godfather fan like me, you wont want to miss it.
However, this film is usually judged in comparison to the greatness of The Godfather I and Godfather II and not for its cinematographic merits. True, it is not comparable to its predecessors, but still has a solid history that rivals that of previous films but lacks the subtle narrative that plunged us into the complexity of the plots and characters that presented us, but still Thus, the story is complex and deep and teaches us how Michael Corleone, tired of his life as a mafia leader, tries to rectify himself in some way by his actions and try to ensure that his family is protected under the legalization of it.
Despite this, there are parts in the film that equally take away the realism that previous releases had given us and that is mainly the biggest mistake: The unrealism and incoherence present in almost the entire film in many scenes. However, the film is still strong in its message and in the allegory it uses. The moment of the climax is just as well achieved as those of previous films, mixing the ups and downs of music with the murders and the same opera and the voice of Tony Corleone to add a more tragic sentiment to the end to come.
Finally, it seems that the decline of quality (always compared to its predecessors) coincides with the decline of Michael Corleone as the Head of the Family and in turn, giving Vincent the head of the family injecting "new blood" to the Corleone family and the reference to the previously seen with Vito and Michael reminds us that we are still seeing a Godfather film and that despite not being so good, is still, undoubtedly, a great film that gives a great closure to one of the best trilogy in the history of cinema.