The God Father
I do appreciate many genres of movies ranging from horror, thriller, drama, apocalyptic, investigative, and others. Not at any one time, has gangster films captured my attention. It was not until I watched movies such as “Good Fellas” and “Sopranos” which I found enthralling that interest developed. Since then, my yearning for gangster films increased like that of fish to water. Recently, my friend learnt of my love for classical gangster movies which was nurturing and she recommended that I watch “The God Father”. My colleague rated the film as high of all times which I may not agree but will assert that it is undeniably a brilliant piece of work. After watching the movie, I baptized it “The Sicilian Best”.
The God Father is arguably the best gangster movie ever perhaps owing to Francis Ford Coppola brilliant directing. Coppola defied the norm of capturing mafia life as a moral and social blight whose ill effects still dictates American society but rather illuminated it simply through a family saga. In his works, Coppola made use of dialogue and vivid performances by film icons to produce a bravura piece of work.
Set in a post- war America era, “The God Father” is a modern gangster film which vividly brings out the mafia lifestyle. A fictitious clan by the name Corleone has Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brandon) Sitting at its helm. The story though revolves around Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) who as the name suggests, is Don Vito’s youngest son. Michael Corlene is not only unblemished but also tragically gifted at running the family business. Vito Corleone the head of the powerful mafia family earns the name “Godfather” from his accolades. This reminds me of “Mr. Untouchable” where the much famed drug baron Nicky Burns earns the name from his foes. Michael who has earned respect as a World War 11 hero does no involve himself in family business. Unfortunately, Don Vito is gunned down by his rivals but escapes death by a whisker. Sonny (James Caan) assumes the responsibility once shouldered by his father of running the family business. However, he does not succeed due to his soft nature. This, in turn, forces Michael to step up and protect the father he seemingly loved. This role takes Michael to a powerful world of violence his father used to tread in and never wanted any of his sons in it. This marks Michael’s entry into the world of organized crime.
Coppola in this film brings out a level of empathy to gangster life. He strives to construct a human level of those in organized crime. I should say he achieves to some extent through the use of family and loyalty themes. Some taboo elements are also addressed through a relationship seen between Sonny’s illegitimate son Vincent and Michael’s daughter Mary. In the movie, the Catholic Church association with the mobsters is also questioned. We can argue that besides exposing gangster life, “Godfather” addresses other moral issues.
Coppola, in directing the movie in which he nearly got shot, manages to capture the glittering triumphs of movie alchemy. He combined both the old Hollywood directing techniques with the new ones which saw the success of the movie.
“God Fathers” did more harm than good to many. Despite presenting a new world in which immorality goes unpunished, it jump started the careers of characters like Al Pacino and Robert Duvall who were to be Hollywood icons. It also salvaged Brandon’s image, which was waning. It is also paramount to mention that movies like Sopranos and HBO drew a lot from “God Father”.
From the plain lands of Africa, the ever busy workforce of Asia, to the cold climate of Europe, I would recommend “The God Father” to every lover of films.