Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Godfather - Part III

Michael Corleone is back, for this third and last part of The Godfather series. The film was released in 1990 and shows how Michael is trying to legitimize his business and get redemption. The story is around real life events : the death of Pope John Paul I and the Banco Ambrosiano scandal ; which are linked to Michael’s story. The movie stars Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire (Coppola's sister) newcomer Andy García, Eli Wallach (The Magnificent Seven), Joe Mantegna (David Rossi in Criminal Minds !), Bridget Fonda and SofiaCoppola (Coppola's daughter).

In this last part, Michael reflects on what he has done in his life – this is different from the first two, where he never questionned his actions – however, it is always the same old tune : « I had to protect my family ». He tries to get out of illegal activities but they keep catching up with him :

Michael Corleone: Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.

There are two sides to Michael : he is the affectionate father trying to bet his business legitimate, at the same time he is grooming his nephew Vincent (Andy Garcia) to become the next Don Corleone.

Michael Corleone: Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.
Michael Corleone: Never let anyone know what you are thinking.

The movie is mainly about Michael ; no matter what the storyline, it is about looking for forgiveness and trying to make amends, it is about reflecting on one’s life, a life that Michael did not choose, as we saw in Part I, it is about being unable to change things. The force of destiny is too strong, and Michael keeps being pulled back. If one thinks about it, it is tragic. His life is ruined by the weight of family responsibilities. The most touching scene is his scream on the stairs, as he realizes that the last person he cared for is gone. The conclusion is the only logical one : Michael eventually has to pay the price for everything he has ever done – no matter how much he tried to turn it around, it is too late for him.

Vincent Mancini: Don Lucchesi, you are a man of finance and politics. These things I don't understand.
Don Lucchesi: You understand guns?
Vincent Mancini: Yes.
Don Lucchesi: Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger

Michael Corleone: I feel... I'm getting wiser now.
Kay Corleone: The sicker you get, the wiser you get, huh?
Michael Corleone: When I'm dead, I'm gonna be really smart.

One problem with this movie was the decision to put Sofia Coppola in the film, I found her acting very bad, which took away from the film’s quality. Glad to see Diane Keaton again, exceptionnal as usual, and Talia Shire as Connie, with a much more active role than in the previous movies.
I was not a fan of the storyline involving the Vatican, although I subsequently found that it is based on true events. But, as mentionned before, the storyline barely matters here, as we see Michael struggling.

Part III is more theatrical, more political, therefore very different from Parts I & II. That said, I thought it was a great movie, but nowhere near the first two.

Mary Corleone: I'll always love you.
Vincent Mancini: Love somebody else.

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