EDDIE BOY -> RE: The Godfather Part III (1/3/2007 3:03:16 PM)
I can understand Empire's review when this film came out because I was very disappointed too.
The Godfather & The Godfather Part II are, in my humble opinion, the greatest achievement in modern American cinema - & that final shot of a cold, brooding Michael was just perfect.
There are other movies that I love a lot, certainly Scorsese's Raging Bull is a film that has lived with me, but these two are my favourites.
So Part III had a lot to live up to & a lot to contend with, not least that it was made for all the wrong reasons.
By 1990 Francis Coppola, was in a very different place as an artist and as a person from his creative peak of the mid 70's.
There are lots of reasons for that & I'd probably need a chapter or two to present an informed opinion - but still, we had faith in his grasp of everything Corleone.
The original concept was strong, like the previous films it was supposed to be about the death of a brother - in this case, Tom Hagen.
But when Duvall pulled out at the last minute it knocked the feet from Coppola's original vision.
Winona Ryder didn't help either - but Francis still had time to get someone else, his casting of Sofia was part panic, part monster-ego - & it didn't work out.
She's not the film's main flaw- that's down to the script not being ready
- pure & simple.
But Gordon Willis's photography is as seductive as ever, Dean Tavoularis's sets are brilliant and the two male leads are excellent.- although in a way, the great Pacino also plays his part in our disatisfaction.
I know that's Al up there on the screen - but this characterisation doesn't look or sound like Michael Corleone to me.
And Coppola, on this ocassion at least, finds it almost impossible to find his tone and his rhythm - especially in the tempo of sequences - which is another way of saying his pacing is way off.
But for all that, Coppola is incapable of making a film without merit and genuine emotion - & this IS a fine film in it's own right.
It's just not a very good Godfather film.
The director himself, has been rather dismissive of it but I think it's a perfect metaphor for his career;
"Too ambitious, beautiful, equally awful & brilliant, hopelessly short of past greatness and yet still brave - and always necessary"
You know, a lot of geniuses are at their best when their young.
Einstein was a genius - & so in a very different way, was George Best.
Einstein's later career didn't compare to The Theory of Relativity.
And George one of the greatest athletes this country ever produced, became better known as a rather pathetic drunk.
But I still have a little hope left for Francis.
With The Godfather, Coppola established his film-making genius indelibly, forever - & just as importantly as Orson Welles.
Would people like Scorsese or Lucas have broken through as quickly without him?
It's been 10 years since his last film, I for one am still looking forward to the next - roll on Youth Without Youth.