Rewatched Jul 03, 2012
Jacob Olsen’s review:
Mary Corleone: «I'll always love you.»
Vincent Mancini: «Love somebody else.»
- Coppola delivers a «How-to» in painful dialogue writing.
I recently watched Trail of the Pink Panther, and it's really tempting to name this one Trail of the Godfather. It would be somewhat rude to do so, because there are bits and pieces of good filmmaking hidden in here. Nevertheless it feels just as unsatisfying as the former film, like it lacks the main character.
All sequels has to in a way live up to their predecessors. In that sense it is twice the challenge to make a sequel than an original, as the latter is most often rated only on its own behalf. The better the original, the stricter the criticisms for its sequels. At least that seem to be the case. Maybe The Godfather: Part III had it even worse. It had to stand up against two films so good that people even today can't seem to agree which is the better. Is it possible then, to give such a film a fair trial? Probably not. After my opening paragraph (and star rating) readers will already know that neither this reviewer is going to proclaim Godfather III the new Messiah, or Pope, if you prefer.
Anyway, let me start with what's good. Gordon Willis's photography is grand. Indoor lighting is so perfect, and of course the Sicilian landscape helps beautifully. Talia Shire is absolutely stunning to watch as the matriarch of the family and delivers some really good acting to boot. Eli Wallach is hard to criticize. And, the final 30 minutes or so is well edited and quite tense in build-up.
On the other end of the scale I think I'll first place the forced dialogue. It is very rarely convincing. In fact, at times almost amusingly so. As a general image of this I can point to any part of the film where Sofia Coppola and Andy Garcia are alone together. They represent the Antichrist of Italian lovers' emotions. The same goes for the theatrical displays between Pacino and Keaton. It's like they really didn't know how to write emotional dialogue. There are also plot weaknesses - it's really hard to believe that they don't pack up and leave Sicily, knowing what they do before the opera starts. There is some pointless casting as well, like John Savage as Father Andrew Hagen. His character, amongst others is also completely redundant.
I won't do any deeper analysis of this film, it serves little purpose. However I want it to be clear that I won't do any butchering simply because its predecessors are so damned popular (and rightly so). I don't think it deserves to be hated or «forgotten about», it's certainly not a great movie but is it really that bad? I would settle for unnecessary.