Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Godfather Part I - It's about damn time

Okay so everyone knows that Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" series of films are among the critical god tier of 20th century motion pictures. Embarrassingly enough I must admit that before today I had never seen, in it's entirety (though I've seen bits and pieces of the movie many times),  The Godfather (1972) staring an all-star cast of cinema gods like Al Pacino (Scarface), Marlon Brando (Guys and Dolls), James Caan (Las Vegas, Elf) and Robert Duvall (True Grit [1969], Apocalypse Now).

The Godfather is an amazing compelling account of the trials of tribulations of the power that comes with control and the pain and prosperity it can bring. Part I revolves around the Corleone crime family (one of the big five mafioso families in post WW2 America) and the leader Don Vito Corleone (Brando).

The movie begins on the day of  Don Corleone's daughter's wedding, and the tradition of friends of the family friends and business associates requesting favors of Don Corleone. You learn off the bat, through a tense conversation the ideals of honor, tradition and vengeance that are held by Don Corleone. The opening wedding scene introduces all of the main characters and themes of the movie in a beautiful way that at no time feels rushed or forced. You are introduced to Vito's son, Michael Corleone (Pacino), who has just come back a hero from WW2, Vito's other son Santino "Sunny" Corleone, and the families many henchmen.

Mr. Ed gets iced

Though Vito Corleone seems very calm and controlled you can tell he is a man of great control. You are proven this early on when he makes a movie director an "offer that he cant refuse" when he asks him to allow a friend of the family to be in his new war film. When the director refuses Corleone has his consigliari place the severed, bloody head of his prized race horse in his bed as a warning.

The Corleone family is stepping into a new world of crime, beyond their typical dealings in gambling and booze, they must weigh the possibilities of  moving into the new, and profitable, world of narcotics. When Don Corleone refuses to enter the drug trade he his gunned down in the street; creating a war between the 5 families. This forces the mostly passive, Michael Corleone to protect the family and their interests while Vito is in the hospital recovering from the many bullets that were pumped into him.
Pacino will never stop being badass.

From here the story is about the changes that Michael goes through and his rise and hold as the to-be new leader of the family. I could go on all day of the details of this movie but I don't want to give to much away, especially if your like me and hadn't seen this film and wanted to go into it with a clean slate. The Godfather part I is one of few movies I could call nearly perfect on all levels. Near perfect shot composition, score, acting, continuity and screenplay are all beautifully weaved together to create of one of the greatest films to ever touch the silver screen (and my computer screen).

I would suggest that anyone who loves movies that they have to see this, and I feel quite ashamed that it took me so long to see this film. I give The Godfather Part 1 a very well deserving 10/10.

1 comment:

Last Days said...