The Bayley Film Club: Francis Ford Coppola

This man needs no introduction. During the 23rd round of our film club we were focusing on the work of Francis Ford Coppola. As in some other cases in the past we have decided to go for three titles instead of the regular two and, (surprise, surprise!) they were:

The Godfather
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part III

The Godfather

Author: AED
Anticipation: 4
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 4
Score: 13

It is always hard to write anything new about a classic like “The Godfather” as it seems that everything possible has already been said. Because of that I will try to keep it brief.

I love Marlon Brando and his performance as the Godfather will always have a warm place in my heart. The film is well thought through and watching it never gets boring, even after many times. It actually really makes sense to revisit this classic as we discover fascinating details of Coppola’s masterpiece (like the reappearing orange theme).  Then again we can also appreciate all the other characters in their prime: Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, James Caan as Sonny Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen the Consigliere  and one of my favourites – Diane Keaton – as Kay Adams.

For all of the cinema lovers out there, no doubt that this is a must watch. The Godfather become an undeniable absolute in filmmaking because of it’s engaging story and brilliant acting. A definite no miss in the Bayley Film Club. 

The Godfather Part II

Author: AED
Anticipation: 3
Enjoyment: 4
Retrospect: 3
Score: 10

The Godfather Part II” didn’t impress me as much as the first, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially the trips along ‘memory lane’ where we are introduced to the humble beginnings of Vito Corleone, first as a child and then as a young adult (Robert De Niro) trying to find his way to success. The storyline of Vito’s life is mixed with Michael’s continuous road to becoming America’s most famous gangster and his dilution of being able to become a ‘normal’ and legit family whilst at it.

The film sticks to the specific symbolism of the part one, but to me it becomes merely a faint echo of its predecessors greatness. Still a rather pleasant film to watch if you like gangster stories. 

The Godfather Part III

Author: AED
Anticipation: 3
Enjoyment: 3
Retrospect: 2
Score: 8

Part three of the Godfather trilogy turned out to be the biggest disappointment. We continue to follow closely Michael’s life and his final approach to becoming a legitimate businessman. His plan involves taking control of an old European company with ties to the Vatican Bank. As his efforts meet with complications linked to bureaucracy and greediness of other shareholders, he is forced back to his old ways by the greed of other gangster families. 

Just when I thought I was out…they PULL me back in

The two initially separate problems turned out to be orchestrated by one enemy. I must say that I rather enjoyed how Francis Coppola managed the film’s finale in the opera – he kept me on the edge of my seat. This and Michael’s personal struggle and guilt I found interesting. 

Still, the story had some significant holes in it and I wasn’t a fan of Sofia Coppola’s acting skills which occurred to ma as very flat and lacking and lacking depth of the relationship she was supposed to portrait . The sole character of Vincent Mancini, Michael’s older brother’s son, (Andy Garcia), brought me nothing but confusion. He is Sonny’s blood, but clearly hasn’t been close to the inner circle for years, regardless of that he is being immediately admitted to become Michael’s protege. His young age is accounted for with the faith that he can overcome his temper and become worthy of a high ranking position in the organisation. But that doesn’t happen, we watch as Vincent’s nature takes the better of him again and again. Then, it doesn’t stop Michael to pass everything to him – all of his and his father’s legacy, without second thought. Strikes me rather as a questionable action, that he would put so small effort to finding and preparing the right person. Therefore, I found the Part III the weakest of the trilogy.

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