Movie Title: The Godfather, Part II
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 3 hr. and 22 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
I am home all week with swine flu. I also feel like a dumpster fire, so if these reviews aren’t that great, I apologize.
What is left to say about The Godfather or The Godfather, Part II? Nothing, really. Neither are movies I would say are among my favorites, but it would be hard to argue that they are not perfectly made. The cast is incredible, the direction, the lighting, the cinematography, the score, pick any aspect of the movie and it is perfectly tailored to suit the film. If you are going into this movie without having seen The Godfather. It is pretty much essential to see it first.
The Godfather: Part II focuses on the Corleone family crime boss Michael (Al Pacino) who inherits the post from his father. Michael’s life is rocky. He is distant from his children. His wife (Diane Keaton) hates him. His family alternatively seeks his approval, seeks money, or lives in fear of him. This is juxtaposed against the story of a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) rising to prominence in New York. The two stories do not really intertwine, but are there to contrast how the two men are constructing their criminal enterprise. While both use violence as a tool, the Vito Corleone family was built on love, loyalty, and respect. The Michael Corleone version of the family is manipulated through control, intimidation, and fear. No one respects Michael Corleone, but everyone fears him including Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) his closest adviser.
The rest of the story is an amalgamation of Michael’s business interests with Hyman Roth and their outcomes. Michael has problems with keeping the peace back in New York. Family member Frankie Pentangeli runs the New York branch of the Corleone crime family and is involved in a feud with Roth’s men. Pentangeli doesn’t trust Michael to do the right thing, which in his opinion is to have Roth’s men killed. Upon returning to New York a hit is put out on Pentangeli. In Miami, Michael meets with Roth regarding business they have in Las Vegas and in Havana. Roth wants Michael to invest in Cuba even as the dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista crumbles. Michael is reluctant to provide Roth with the capital he demands as he witnesses the rebel groups minor successes in a street battle. Roth also wants to work out a partnership in one of Michael’s casino ventures. After an attempt on Michael’s life, he suspects Roth actually wants him dead. The political maneuvering and violence surrounding these dealings make up the majority of the plot.
The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II are cultural essentials. I had seen large parts of this movie before, but never the whole thing. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: The Truman Show (1998)