The Godfather III(1990)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Sofia Coppola, Eli Wallach, Diane Keaton and others
The Godfather part III is the third instalment of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy. It is one of the most unjustly judged films, often because it carries the massive burden and legacy of the first two films. Upon closer inspection, Godfather III will reveal a scintillating masterpiece which only befits perfectly as a sequel to the first two films. Though it moseys on the same theme as the first two films, it puts a little extra effort to explore the emotional turmoil and the human side of the characters (especially the protagonist) and provides a beautiful conclusion to one of cinema’s greatest chronicles.
Godfather III narrates the nemesis of Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino), the mafia overlord and the head of the Corleone family. Haunted by the past and being antagonized by diabetes, Michael is wearing out both mentally and physically. His last resort of happiness is to leap out of the mafia and plunge into normalcy. Unfortunately Michael is surrounded by dark horses depriving him the freedom of a normal life. Michael’s hope for redemption is shattered to bits against the rising political feud in the mafia and the corruption scandal of the Vatican church. The situation is further complicated by Michael’s untimely custodianship of his eldest brother’s (Sonny Corleone) illegitimate son Vincent Corleone(played by Andy Garcia) and his strong sentimentality towards his daughter Mary Corleone (played by Sofia Coppola). Vincent Corleone appears like Michael’s loyal guardian angel that is more than willing to carry the family’s future legacy and eventually saving Michael from his predicament. However, Vincent plays a game of funambulism with his aggression (inherited from his father) and hot-blooded rage against his enemies, making himself a bane rather than a boon to Michael. Aiding to that, an undesirable romance develops between Vincent and Mary, creating a menacing maze that engulfs Michael. Thus, Michael’s life and legacy meets its unflattering downfall with an ingloriously tragic finale.
Godfather III is a beautiful film in all aspects. Like the first two films, it carries frontline dedication from all the actors and crew members. Nino Rota’s traditional score elevates Gordon Willis’s stark and dusky cinematography. The complex and intricate screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, the inspiring dialogues and Al Pacino’s phenomenal performance makes it a cinematic jewel.
Michael Corleone is the epitome of tragedy. His chapters reveal how unfair unfairness can be. Michael was an idealistic young man with simple desires. He isolated himself from his family’s mafia and led a simplistic yet, a passionate life with great panache. The threat against his family disrupts his well balanced life and forces him into the mafia. His ideals cannot survive the ruthless world of mafia. Michael thus transcends into a scornful don leaving a trail of blood (including his brother Fredo’s) behind him. This was something Michael never wanted, but was alas, inevitable. His old-age had turned into a living nightmare, haunted by his own legacy. In the end he mourned alone for his women and dear ones, while there was no one to mourn for him when he was dying in his chair. Immensely tragic but breathtakingly realistic!
Godfather III is an ode to Michael Corleone and the definitive conclusion to the Godfather trilogy.