AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m celebrating my 100th movie review in Me On The Movie! Wow, it’s just fascinating knowing that at least I have seen 100 movies (including 5 short movies) and made a review for each of them. You can check them all in the “Review Index” page. Thank you for your supports, readers!
And that’s why I chose “The Godfather” to be reviewed for my 100th review. Although I’m not a big fan of it, it’s surely a cinematic masterpiece worth to be celebrated in this special occasion. Now it’s listed as the second position in the Top 250 IMDb, followed by “The Godfather: Part II”—its sequel. And to be honest, this is my first-time see of any of the works of Francis Ford Coppola, one of the most legendary directors in Hollywood. I’m no expert of seeing the philosophical, cultural layer, whatsoever from “The Godfather”, but what I see from it is that it has a great power of storytelling and characterization. Read more to know what I have in mind about it.
“The Godfather” is an outlook of an Italian-American family with a background business of an organized crime. Vito Corleone (played greatly by Marlon Brando) is the head of the family as well as the head of the mafia business the family did. His first son, Sonny (played by James Caan) is the only child who involved in the family business, while Michael (played by Al Pacino)—his youngest son—chose not to be part of the business and Fredo (played by John Cazale)—his godson—chose to do some jobs in Hollywood. After an unexpected accident due to a refusal of doing a plan from a partner, the family tried to reconcile as their father planned to transfer control of his dynasty to one of his sons.
Adapted from a similarly-titled book by Mario Puzo, “The Godfather” tells a beautiful story of a family, especially the relationship of a father as the leader of the family and his children—or more specifically, his sons. It stands strongly from the characterization of them, which then grows into a complicated connection regarding to how they team up as a family with all the problems coming. It is not solely a family drama—instead, it is better categorized as a crime movie—but there is a mild nuance of family moral value in it. With a large ensemble cast—and of course a varied characterization of each of them—“The Godfather" distinguishes itself from similar movies by presenting a good mix of a big family with bad business and multiple values that are obvious but acceptable. It’s a comprehensive drama with detailed and smart additions of Italian culture, more than just the use of Italian language. Honestly I’m not sure if you smell this sense of masculinity in this movie, due to the more focus to male characters instead of female, but I think it is just my speculation (and maybe, female viewers will see “The Godfather” so differently than male viewers).
From how the story was told, I’d rather to say that “The Godfather” is a descriptive, not a narrative story. I hardly found the structure of introduction-complication-resolution in this movie and, at last, there’s no real conflict developed from the beginning and resolved in the ending. It purely describes the Corleone family, instead of telling us that there’s a specific situation in the family. However, it’s not boring at all—although the duration is a little bit lengthy, I guess. I really love how Coppola shift among each member of the family and their own problems and, finally, captured the condition of the family as a whole. We can see the characterization of each of them. Puzo and Coppola made such a deep characterization for them from which viewers can learn something inspiring.
And since the story stands significantly to the characterization of the cast, every cast member did an astonishing job. Don Vito Corleone by Marlon Brando can be one of the most memorable and inspiring role in a movie of all time. I have never seen this guy acting in other movies, but what I see from him in “The Godfather” is a totality. He was so deep into Vito Corleone and, oh, he was natural with all his gestures and mimics. I think this is one of the finest portrayal of a fictional character from an actor. James Caan, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton (playing Kay, Michael’s spouse), and Robert Duvall (playing Tom Hagen, the Corleone’s consultant) did a nice job, but I expected Diane Keaton got more time for her role (and that’s why I taste a bit masculinity in this movie because the female roles were rarely important). The score was nice, too, yet I didn’t notice anything specific about the cinematography and camera work—but the costume and production design deserve recognition, I guess.
Actually there are so many things to discuss about this movie, and I don’t think that this review is worth to describe how spectacular and incredible this movie is. Whatever is in the mind of Coppola and Puzo, I think this movie is specifically made for man. Rich moral values about dad and sons make “The Godfather” an easy inspiration for every young man. I won’t give you any offers you can’t refuse, but I guarantee that this one is a must-watch.
▲ Rich moral values, detailed cultural background, outstanding performance by Marlon Brando
▼ A bit lengthy
THE GODFATHER | COUNTRY USA YEAR 1972 RATING R RUNTIME 175 min GENRE Crime, Drama CAST Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton WRITER Mario Puzo (novel), Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay) DIRECTOR Francis Ford Coppola MORE INFO