Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: The Godfather (1972)

Usually, I review movies after the first view, but this is an exception as I've seen this movie five or six times. This is truly-truly one of the greatest movies ever made and in my humble opinion the greatest American movie.
But OK, just a bit of revision of the very well-known story: The Godfather follows the life of an Italian-American mafia family, led by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), a strict, hard-working and honest mobster. After the murder attempt of the Don, his sons Santino (James Caan) and Michael (Al Pacino) have to take care of family matters.
The beginning is as effective as it can be: the directing, the shadows, the dialogues are all just unbelievable and the atmosphere of the movie catches you right there.
After that the wedding scene (again) is just fantastic: we don't see any crazy gangsters, criminals and so on. A celebrating, huge family is there having fun, loving each other, eating, dancing.
First of all, the screenplay is so brilliant. When I was watching the video when it won, I saw that it wasn't much of a surprise for Coppola and well it should not have been. It was way ahead of its competition and fully deserving.
And yeah, the acting: Marlon Brando's performance is simply iconic as Don Vito Corleone. Sure, he doesn't have much screentime, but I still think he's the lead, because HE got the most important role. So a well-deserved (and refused) award for Marlon Brando. But again, he was a sure bet.
And there's the impressive supporting cast, giving strong performances. Al Pacino (in a starmaking turn) gives a great and memorable performance as Michael Corleone and his change from the good boy to the next Godfather is simply breathtaking. And his last scene with Marlon Brando is unbelievable.
There's James Caan who most people think should have won Best Supporting Actor. Although he's very good, I cannot agree. Sure what he gave was very impressive but Pacino and Joel Grey were better. And there's the often forgotten Robert Duvall, who also manages to hold his own as the calm and smart consegliere, Tom Haden.
The other members of the cast (Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Richard Castellano, Sterling Hayden) are also really great in their minor, but important roles.
And apart from the great screenplay, acting and the magnificent technical part, there's one essential reason why this movie works: the direction. I love Cabaret, but I think not giving Coppola the Oscar for this was a huge mistake. And I agree with him that making sequels was unnecessary (even though the second one was also unbelievable) as this movie was so complete.
Anyway if there are two words for perfection they are The Godfather.
My Grade: 10/10 A true masterpiece.
Nominations: Best Picture (WON); Best Director (Coppola LOST); Best Actor (Brando WON); Best Supporting Actor (Caan, Duvall, Pacino); Best Adapted Screenplay (WON); Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Costume Design; Best Music, Original Dramatic Score (Withdrawn nomination)
My Wins: Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay


Anonymous said...

GREAT review!

I of the best movies ever made.

Louis Morgan said...

A great film and a great review.