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It's an excellent film which neatly ties up the series.
It shows Michael's development and his redemption.
Sofia Coppola is not great but she brings a sense of family to the film.
It's problem is it is eclipsed by the other two films and if judged independently is a cracking good film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Godfather: Part III continues the theme of Family from the first
two movies. In The Godfather, Michael had undergone an internal arc to
go from outsider to Don of the family, dropping most of his morals
along the way in order to protect the family. In The Godfather: Part
II, this idea of the ends justify the means is taken to its logical
extreme as Michael tears the family apart in order to protect it.
In Part III, Michael tries to make the family legitimate in order to redeem himself. Unlike the first movie, where Michael's internal change happens on screen, and unlike the second movie, where Michael's does not change at all, this movie has Michael shifting gears to try to pay for his past sins. But this change does not take place on screen. Michael starts the movie regretting his distance from his children and spends the whole movie trying to make up, his internal compass does not change through the movie.
So all we are left are two external plot lines: Michael's efforts to legitimize being constantly thwarted and his failure to protect his family because of his past sins keep catching up to him.
The movie seems to be about something like "Crime will never let you escape". But the movie doesn't really prove this because so much of what Michael is paying for is offscreen and in the past two movies. The whole movie just feels like a confession for past sins and the filmmakers showing us that bad deeds will always catch up to us. The idea is not proved by action and choice of the characters on screen. This movie is a necessary but not a worthy tribute to the first two films, it probably shouldn't have been made at all.
My Story Chart of the movie is at storycharts.ca.
I was so excited to watch the third installment of The Godfather after watching the first two. I was horribly disappointed. The first two Godfathers were truly works of art. The acting and directing were excellent. Pacino and DeNiro were wonderful. The writers and directors wisely kept Keaton to a minimum in the first two. The first two were intriguing and really told the story of the Corleone family well. However, The Godfather III should not have been made. The acting was terrible. Even Pacino (i am a huge fan) came off as forced acting. Sofia Coppola was absolutely awful. Keaton was such a drag throughout the entire movie. The plot was weak and did not hold my attention. It also seemed like such a "recycled" movie from material from the first two. The first 15 minutes of the movie were clips from the first two (and definitely the highlight of III). There was too much Italian opera singing and repetition of the first soundtrack of The Godfather. This movie reminded me of the new Star Wars movies that came out in the 90's and later. Both The Godfather and Star Wars were created in the 1970's were classics and should not have sequels or prequels added to them. Really, if you enjoyed the first two Godfathers, don't watch the third one...it will spoil the experience for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Attention: if you have not seen the movie, do not read on. I don´t suppose
put spoilers in, but I might for this is such a classic.
I spent heavy bucks on the recent DVD box and I´m proud of it. But there´s no way to avoid noticing the gap between second and third parts. Not the time gap, because that was of course well taken care of by the brilliant producing and directing. The same cast is there, and with the great addition of 15 years. That makes Michael and Kay controversial, loveXhate relationship even more appealing and dramatic, for now they are mature and have all the wrinkles to prove.
But as Al Pacino said in a recent interview, the attempt for redemption doesn´t fit with Don Corleone. That is a fact. That may be a flaw in Mario Puzo´s story, but that is greatly expectable. As long as you have read "Omerttà" or "The Last Don" you do understand me: not all of his stories are as perfect as the Godfather.
Think of the cold stare Michael gave the Cop that punched him on part one just before and moments after killing him point blank. And also of the look in his face when he shows up unexpectedly at the house and finds Kay secretly visiting their children: he never says a word. Walks towards her, gets real close and, when she starts wondering "is this forgiving time?" he closes the door - we glance at the desperate look Diane Keaton throws at him for a second, but he doesn´t. To me this shot is specially revealing of how cold and stone hearted a Don has to be. The woman aborted his son on purpose. She is let to live, but to him she is dead.
And, as part three goes on, he befriends her again after what, fifteen years? Too human for a Don. Specially Michael, who got appointed by Vitto as the greatest Don ever. What about the scene beside the coffin? That is lame, and is the only part I don´t like in the whole series. Even Pacino did not pull that one off, and the extra disc on the DVD Edition shows it clearly: Coppola tries to guide him through the dialog and the sobbing. It just doesn´t work.
And on a final note, I stick with the majority regarding Sofia Coppola: she is terrible. The theater scene is the climax of the film and she could easily have made it flop. Still, as a director, she has proven herself worthy of the Coppola name. Good thing Nicholas Cage did not stick to it.
In giving a wrap-up, a conclusion to two of the most powerful crime and
family stories to come out of the seventies, Francis Ford Coppola took
a risk that many feel didn't pay off. I almost wish I didn't know what
criticisms people had before viewing it again recently (I had seen the
film when I was in my early teens, but forgot most of it). Some of
them, such as the mis-casting of Sofia Coppola, the long, drawn-out
scenes, the heavy-handed dialog, are not entirely un-founded. And I
would agree that this is my least favorite of the trilogy. But I do not
feel that it is a failure, or a mis-calculation by Coppola and
co-author Mario Puzo.
In fact, right from the get-go and throughout the film, I was very intrigued by the direction of the story that was being taken, as well as with the characters. At the core, Coppola cares deeply about the Corleone family, in particular Michael (Al Pacino, his most infamous crime performance alongside Tony Montana), despite the sins that have been committed. It's a tale of redemption, of loss, and of what matters in a life dominated by greed and corruption in the legitimate as well as illegitimate places. Coppola understands this world, or at least the dynamics of it, and that's what makes Godfather 3 at the least a fascinating character study.
Not to mention, much of the assembled cast (with the loss of Robert Duvall being the only set-back) is still highly dependable- Pacino is great at being tragic, and his subtleties in some scenes rank with his best work (one scene that stuck with me was his confession to the priest about Fredo). Keaton, for her scenes, is alright considering her dialog. Andy Garcia makes an impression fast in one of his early performances. Eli Wallach is an interesting choice for the Don (once again, like with Tuco, an effective take on a clichéd character). And Sofia Coppola, while understandably forced in some of her emotions (or, indeed, under-cooked), is not as bad as some have made her out to be. After all, she is supposed to be just a regular girl, not within the overly dramatic landscape of the criminals and politicians.
And the story, which follows Michael's chances at achieving legitimacy at the turn of the end of the seventies while his nephew tries to find the line of a "good" made guy, keeps a viewer on edge with the style too. To put it as such, Gordon Willis keeps a consistency with his masterful work in the first two films (at least, all three in the trilogies are masterpieces of lighting and compositions, and Willis was reportedly more responsible for the look of the films than Coppola, who focused on the actors and theatrics). And such a wonderful, operatic music score by Carmine Coppola is a fitting swan song, if missing the Nina Rota touch. For me, The Godfather: part 3 (a.k.a. The Death of Michael Corleone, Coppola's original title) is only a disappointment in how there isn't (arguably) the level of ambition in regards to the others. And the violent content, although original in its tactics, may not pack the wallop one might expect. But as a film by itself, this is a drama of considerable merit, and wouldn't spoil the flow if watched right after the first two in one sitting.
Any true fan of THE GODFATHER series will not acknowledge this film ever
exists and it was all just a bad dream.
The story begins in 1979, some 20+ years after we last left Michael Corleone, who had done the unspeakable at the end of THE GODFATHER PART II. He has just been given the highest civilian honor by the Catholic church, which basically frees him from all sin. Once again, the film starts with an extravagent party. Michael and Kay are now divorced; their children, Anthony and Mary are now grown. Michael has sold the casinos and has no interests in illegitimate business. He has turned the Corleone family in New York over to Joey Zaza (Joe Mantegna).
Michael is seeking redemption. He commited a big-time sin at the end of THE GODFATHER PART II and this still haunts him. His son wants nothing to do with the family business and wants to be an opera singer. Michael finds a prodigy in his nephew Vincent (played horribly by Andy Garcia).
This movie is bad. There is no other way to put it. Connie (Talia Shire) is weak for the first two movies, now all of a sudden she is strong and even helps in plotting a murder. The character of Mary (Soffia Coppola) is totally uninspiring. I still say Sofia Coppola can't act her way out of a paper bag. The film misses the Tom Hagen character (Robert Duvall) who is replaced badly by George Hamilton, playing a different lawyer to the Corleone family.
Like the other films, this also deals with double crossing and betrayals and family loyalty. I walked out of this movie in 1991 feeling very unfulfilled and am extremely angry at Paramount for not releasing the DVD's of the movies individually. I watched the first twenty minutes of this on DVD recently and realized why I hated it so much. Even the breath-taking scenes of Sicily couldn't do it for me this time. (ZERO STARS)
After watching this film the first time all I could think of was that
Francis Ford Coppola waited too long to make it. It's not a bad film but it
seems detached from the original and Part II. The actors seemed to be out of
touch with their characters but clearly did the best they could considering
the time frame between Part II and III. I came away with the feeling that
had he made this motion picture four or five years after Part II it would
have been a better film. Of course the story may have been different but who
knows. However it's still a Godfather film by Francis Ford Coppola and still
I think that the third part of this series is just as good as the previous two parts, And ANDY GARCIA's character was so interesting that it would make you feel like that he's been acting in this movie since form the very first moment of the 1st part, and I think that Al Pacino's character doesn't need any comment because it was just perfect and he did very well just like the 1st and 2nd part. Any way i just wanted to say that Francis Ford Coppola's talent in directing was so clear in the first and second parts , but in this part we discover the other talent, it's writing , I think he was very successful in writing with Mario Puzzo.
Part III is dead in the water in every way. It's derivative in plot
outline from the first two films; it has some awful acting stints by
Pacino, Sophia Coppola, & Talia Shire, among others; and it insults the
Catholic Church by positing as truth the murder of a pope. Critics have
been way too indulgent with this dog! The Godfather saga seemed
appropriately concluded at the end of Part II, when we're left with a
heartless Michael aging alone in his blustery Tahoe home. That haunting
scene is jettisoned in Part III when we're re-introduced to a redeemed,
conscience-stricken Michael. Also, Pacino was the master of
understatement in the first two films, so that when he exploded, you
took notice. In Part III, alas, he's still stuck in his shouting,
out-of-control acting schtick (see "Heat" for more of that).
Supposedly the future shoplifting Winona Ryder bowed out of III: but why, oh why would Coppola replace her with his talentless daughter? It's a key role, and her non-performance further taints the film. Stick to the first two!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
movie blows (spoilers) Adam Mackler | 27 Nov 2003 A story that has nothing to do with anything. Interminable wedding and opera scenes with no dramatic progression. Al Pacino doesn't seem like a mob boss. The first movie was based on the book (and so well done). The second movie was half based on the book. This movie seems to have been based on what actors were available. By the end I was wishing Mary Corleone had been killed at the beginning. Suggestion for those who loved the first movie: read the book and then go watch the first movie again. It's like putting on 3d glasses or switching from a black-and-white to color TV. But save yourself the anger of being duped and avoid GF3.
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