Monday, October 30, 2006

Godfather Trilogy

Godfather Trilogy
The Godfather movies are part of the culture and always feature high in any list of favorite movies including my personal list. I often re-watch the DVDs. They influenced Mafia crime films for some time and every one is compared to the Godfather trilogy. They are stylish, violent and gritty with excellent performances from all the leads. The violence is not actually over the top but is used when the story demands it. How accurate a portrayal of Mafia life it is, only the Mafia men can say. Interestingly, the word Mafia is never used.
Francis Ford Coppola directed all three movies. That means his style permeates throughout the Godfather trilogy and we get continuity. Every aspect contributes to the quality of the films, including the cinematography and the music. Marlon Brando gives a terrific performance and manages to rein in the mumbling. If you sit an inch from the screen, you can make out what he's saying. It's all part of his charm.
Everyone is fascinated by the Mafia and we get most of our impressions from the movies, especially the Godfather trilogy. They are portrayed as God fearing people with a tremendous loyalty to family. No one is allowed to go against family. They go to church and have big family gatherings with lots of hugs and kisses. The women cook and make cozy homes for their men folk, and don't bother much with minor details about where the money comes from. Children are treasured, especially the sons who are treated like Princes. In this mix, there is Michael.
Michael Corleone, son of Brando the Godfather and played by Al Pacino. is the only character in the entire Godfather trilogy who undergoes a change. He doesn't want anything to do with the family business at first, but avenges the attempt on his Father's life. From then on, he is hooked and he becomes more ruthless than anyone, even murdering his brother-in-law. In the final part of the Godfather trilogy, he looks back on his life and wonders if he made the right choices.
Most people cite the second film as their favorite. The middle of a trilogy is usually the most difficult to film. You can set things up in the first and bring things to a conclusion in the last. The middle film of the Godfather trilogy is like a bridge. We get an insight into Don Corleone in this movie, as we see his early life in Sicily and 1920s New York. Robert De Niro plays Brando's younger self, an excellent choice. The Godfather trilogy is classic cinema, but not for horse lovers.