The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★★

Still to this day as the only sequel to win the Oscar for best picture, The Godfather: Part II is as riveting, gripping, suspenseful, and frankly, perfect as Part I.

Francis Ford Coppola along with co-writer Mario Puzo have written two of the best screenplays of all time, between this and GF1. Every little piece of the puzzle has a significant meaning, and the story is told in such a fascinating way that viewers are left in awe. Even the construction of the title, held up by puppet strings, signifies a man's longing to have control over so many lives.

Coppola has openly stated that his films are about American capitalism. He makes it very obvious in Part II, writing in dialogue to explicitly tell the audience that the film is about capitalism. We hear about Michael owning specific Nevada hotels and casinos. The best example of capitalism is when Roth says to Michael, "We're bigger than U.S Steel". The film is all about a man's greed for power. Those at the top get to call the shots, while those at the bottom get walked over.

Though the characters are Roman Catholics, Coppola, like in part 1, is sure to throw in some anti-religious scene. In part 2, there is a scene where a replica of Christ is paraded through the streets of Italy by Roman Catholics. The replica is covered with money, and street shops cut the scene into two parts: 1) only Christ's head is shown with no money, and 2) only the money is shown with no head. Coppola here tries to separate the true meaning of religion from capitalistic horrors and the longing for power and wealth.

He continues to show his views of political corruption with the character of Senator Geary, who is deceived by the mafia and becomes another piece of their business. Roth tries planting a witness to testify against Michael, who tracks down Franky's brother to scare Franky away from testifying against Michael.

The final few scenes of this movie are some of the best. Tom talks to Franky in prison about the Roman Empire, and those who attempt to overthrow the Empire should open their veins and let the blood run out. Michael sends Rocco to kill Roth, also getting Rocco gunned down immediately by FBI agents. Finally, Michael breaks the ultimate rule and orders a hit on his own brother Fredo, who betrayed him by helping Roth. He sends his bodyguard Al out on a boat with Fredo, and kills him while fishing. Fredo was reciting the Hail Mary in a reference to a scene earlier with Michael's son Anthony, and was shot as soon as he reached "Now and at the hour of your death". He was also shot on a boat out on the lake, where he will now be "sleeping with the fishes".

I could go on forever with little things that Coppola did that makes this film and the first film perfect. Stanley Kubrick is another director who is really big on detail, but Coppola takes it to another level with this series. Just an epic story with perfectly developed characters, definitive acting, and beautiful direction. The steady camera allows you to focus your eyes in one spot and take in as much information as possible, which is key for a film with as much detail as this one.

If you have yet to see this, you might as well stop what you are doing and go watch it. Unless you haven't seen part 1, in which case you should go watch that. I've never been so in awe at filmmaking than how I am with these two masterpieces. I'll continuously watch these throughout the remainder of my life, and find plenty of new discoveries each time. The true template for mafia films. Bravo, Mr. Coppola.