Al Pacino, Danny DeVito, Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Francis Ford Coppola
In "The Godfather: Part II", Francis Ford Coppola continues the Corleone saga first by bringing closure to the life and leadership of Don Vito then by introducing Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) as the new head of the Corleone Family.
The two men are markedly different. Whereas Don Vito did, indeed, rule with an iron fist he was also a politician. He was a man who could use his mind as well as his force in getting the results he desired. Michael, on the other hand, rules almost solely with his iron fist and, by the end of the film has become a tragic figure isolated and alone.
Coppola is a master visionary, and Part II allows Coppola to expand his vision for the Corleone family. Every aspect of this film exudes the mood and aura of the Corleone's and the production design, art design, sound and costuming is impeccable. We are re-introduced to many of the first film's characters including Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), Michael's wife (Diane Keaton), Michael's older brother Fredo (John Cazale) and many others.
As Michael Corleone, Al Pacino is mesmerizing as we see him constantly bubbling beneath the surface ready to explode. The inner workings of Michael Corleone come to life in Pacino's performance and every movement, gesture and line gives birth to another dimension to his character.
As much as I maintained my deep involvement with these characters throughout the film, I found myself disconnected from the story at times. Some scenes, such as those in Cuba, seem incomplete and out of sorts. They are powerful scenes, but the power is without purpose. In the first film, everything felt connected and purposeful. In this film, it occasionally feels like the only purpose is for mood-setting and atmosphere. Some scenes simply don't further the storyline or enhance the moviegoing experience.
"The Godfather: Part II" is still a mesmerizing, often exhausting experience. Even if it is not up to its original, it remains a legendary and awesome film. After two films and nearly seven hours of screen time, the Corleone family is a family I care about even as their chosen professions violate my very values. I believe in their words, even when their actions speak otherwise.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic