Like Leonard Maltin said, only Francis Ford Coppola could dare do a third part to the masterful series The Godfather. Well he had to, since after Apocalypse Now, he started bottoming out with lots of shit movies that he released from that time span to GF3. Now we all know it’s the weakest of the series, and that Sofia Coppola shits most of the film, but one way or another, that is no excuse to bash the film to extreme. Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo again pull out another great movie that is perfect in many ways, and despite Coppola’s already tired sense of creativity, he still delivers. The film is so underrated that it’s dumb to call this film “a bad movie.” It’s a great movie, flawed in certain parts but still great.As a tradition to all Godfather movies, the film opens up with a ceremony, where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino again) is receiving the order of the Pope, for his valuable work in charity. Michael now is finally legitimate, having taken out all of his interests off the gambling business, and now seeking a way out as a legitimate pursuant of charity and business. But as he gets into the deal with the Vatican, there’s the ongoing corruption between the church and its shareholders, and Michael is in between all that, adding to the fact that Michael left some serious loose ends with his old mob pals, which all these could explode into an inferno of mob violence. Michael has also trying to find a worthy successor, whom maybe in his fiery nephew Vincent (Andy Garcia), and to also try to mend the already strained relations between him and his ex-wife Kay (Diane Keaton), and his children.
"Hampered But Still Good"
The film, just like in part two, again re-passes the main points that were cemented with the original Godfather, and tries to be original by setting the blocks in a different place, which is within the own Catholic church. First of all we know that there will always be corruption everywhere, in the government, the businesses, and even in the most religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church. And for a man who for most of his life has been used to mob violence and corruption, these new challenges of handling the new company for the church will be pretty much hanging his sense of legitimacy by a thread. I really liked that, because it puts a man into the test of legitimacy, if he really wants to stay away from corruption, he must live up to his word in this situation. The film is basically what Coppola and Puzo wanted it to be: Depict Michael’s quest for forgiveness, and try to leave all those bad memories behind and start over again, and it’s never easy. By seeing how Michael gives away money to charity, along with his sufferings and his violent past, and his sins of having killed and ordered to kill people (a word: Fredo), makes you think and point out that money can’t buy forgiveness, and since you committed bad deeds in the past, sooner or later they will strike you back, an eye to an eye. People complain that the ongoing relations between Michael and Kay depicted in the movie are just excuses to open up old wounds and start a new level of friction between the two. I disagree, since in Part 2, he was left all alone by himself because he wanted to, and now he wants forgiveness from his wife for all the things he did in the past. That always tends to happen in every relationship that has been strained for some time, and it’s not easy to again settle and reconcile. I think the movie depicted this perfectly.
The best thing in the movie that I liked though, is the way Coppola and Puzo wrote the script, in base of the true facts that shook the Vatican in the 80’s, with the sudden death of Pope John Paul I, and the huge scandal-fraud that stormed The Vatican, plus the violence scenes, are also some of the bloodiest in the entire trilogy, especially the one where this guy gets killed by his pair of glasses, which in my opinion, it’s the most bloodiest murder that I think it has ever been filmed, it was pretty fucking shocking.
Unfortunately, Coppola’s already tiresome sense of creativity starts again to bother him, since there are a few scenes and parts that are confusing in many ways. The Michael Corleone we see here is obviously not the fierce, and bloodthirsty Michael Corleone in Part 2, he seems to have a totally different perspective, and doesn’t seem to care a lot about when the corruption starts striking again, probably because he wants out, but in the very obvious moments (the Joey Zasa scenes), he seems not to give a shit about what’s going on, not even a wince. The two scenes involving Bridget Fonda (who’s sizzling here) are basically pointless; George Hamilton seems to be somewhat lost during the entire movie, and certain scenes in the movie don’t seem to fit very well. The worst mistake in the movie, and in fact, it’s a mistake that nearly kills the movie: Sofia Coppola. Ok, we all know she’s a talented writer and director (The Virgin Suicides), but she totally fucking sucks at acting, and it’s seen here perfectly. Sofia delivers a melodramatic but totally atrocious performance in every scene she’s in. She chuckles when she shouldn’t, she winces when she should put a straight face, and she spends most of the time reciting her lines with a stone face, rather than giving out her lines naturally and just act. She’s cardboard, she’s crap, she’s shit, and she shouldn’t never been cast for such an important part. Daddy Francis keeps moaning about his mistake of casting her daughter in the film, well, shit happens Francis. I still think you should’ve waited for Winona Ryder to recover from her cold. The Sofia debacle nearly kills the film, and trying to ignore her is as hard as trying to swallow a stone, and along with the script mistakes, takes precious points off the film, and weakens it, shrinking it’s status to just another good movie. The film will never be as great as it’s two masterful predecessors, but still, despite these mistakes, it doesn’t make the film a bad movie, in fact, it’s really a good movie, and one worth to watch. It really annoys me that this film is so underrated, since this film deserves some recognition, since it has some great scenes, Gordon Willis’ cinematography and Coppola’s great direction (though a bit flawed).
The performances were mostly great, Pacino again reprises his role the only way he can do it, but Andy Garcia really steals the show, giving one of his best performances to date (it pisses me off that they bash Andy because “he’s not Italian,” like anybody fucking cares), Talia Shire was alright, so is Diane Keaton. The rest of the cast was also great, except Sofia, whom I would love to beat the shit out of her for ruining most of the film. Thanks a lot, bitch.In the end, tell all those guys that bash this film for no good reasons to fuck themselves. This film, true it’s not that great, but still deserves a view, since there’s more to The Godfather Part 3 than what they’ll ever tell you. Sure, it has it’s flaws and it has that no-talent cunt Sofia, but apart from that, there is still some of that magic that made the first two films great that is overlooked here. So my recommendation: give this film a try, one-way or another, it's worth it.
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originally posted: 02/08/02 17:12:17