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This review is from: The Godfather [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I stumbled across this classic on cable TV a few evenings ago and that was it: I abandoned all other plans for the evening and watched the movie. Then I retrieved Mario Puzo's novel from my book collection and plowed through it, savoring and relishing this extraordinary piece of literature that had such an impact on our cultural landscape thirty-plus years ago.
Francis Ford Coppola's THE GODFATHER is a triumphant, magnificent screen portrayal of Puzo's epic book. The story of an Italian-American mob "family" entrenched in inherent and often desperate violence, Coppola weaves this film with compelling, moving, and haunting visuals that are as beautiful as they are disturbing. The scenes are at once simplistic and complex, yet such a dichotomy is not lost on the viewer, but embraced--appreciated for its overwhelming genius.
I've seen more than my fair share of Marlon Brando films, and in my opinion the character of Don Vito Corleone is this actor's signature role. Brando effectively portrays the Godfather's compassion, love and devotion to his family, and calm acumen to make "business" decisions that literally mean life or death to countless men. Don Vito is both a family man and a killer: two seemingly inconsistent characteristics that make Brando's portrayal even more remarkable. The rest of the cast, including James Caan and Robert Duvall, is exceptional, but it is Al Pacino as young Michael Corleone--Don Vito's "baby boy" who was not meant to enter the family business--who provides the most telling role in this film. Before our very eyes, we see Michael change from a man eager to remain at arms-length to the Corleone family ventures to a ruthless, cold-blooded Godfather himself--a transformation both astounding and eery.
THE GODFATHER is a feast of unforgettable cinematic moments: from an ambush at a toll booth to a bloody horse head wrapped in satin sheets. Puzo's story is told--told through filmmaking as good as it gets.