The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II

al pacino represents fire to me.

slowly smoldering fire to be clear. latter day pacino can yell and bellow with the best of them but he made his name with the indication of malice, rather than the storm of it. his eyes burned in the godfathers and that's all we needed. it was understood that a supernova had walked onto the stage and everyone else needed to take a bow.

he's compared a lot to that other italian that won't be named but i don't think that accurately comprises him as an actor. the other one played weirdos estranged from society down to a perfect register, al pacino characters own the room from the second they walk into them. he could have been a prince in another life. there's a charisma, a sense of destiny, a great man has arrived.

i think that's what makes it so impressive that al pacino characters feel both larger than life and perfectly human in a greek tragedy sense. al has never taken the easy road. he burrowed himself into complicated, hard men and made us sympathize with them against our will. he gave humanity to murderers and cheats and liars. he made us realize that everyone could have a broader sort of purpose if they were given the right story and the right actor to play them.

he's both a glamorous movie star of old and an actor's actor. he melds the two perfectly- both al pacino and the character. on film he's exciting, passionate, loving, angry, violent- never, ever boring or trite or facile. he's part of the reason why i got into film. he's part of the reason why a lot of people got into film- it's been decades and he's still igniting the same spark he always did.

so happy birthday al pacino. may the embers you left in your wake never completely disperse.

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