plaidflannel’s review published on Letterboxd:
[Viewed from the glorious Coppola Restoration on Blu-Ray]
Most people want protection without admitting what they are protecting—that is, it's a common practice to put up one's guard rather than admit vulnerability, even though such a guard paradoxically proves vulnerability. There are few things stronger than family, a fact of humanity that the Corleones weave into the rope of their protective business, and it's undoubtedly the strongest cord.
Vice versa, the business then becomes a strand woven into the DNA of each member. Even Michael.
To watch criminals like Sonny have such humanely visceral reactions to their stressful lifestyles is empathetic, as can be Vito's reflection upon old age at the end of an ultimately regretful life... and this mix of "the good and the bad" runs both ways as the esteemed and purely respected Michael is just as hotly passionate and brutal as his family.
Reputation cannot forever cover actions, thoughts, the truth.
Neither can power. Not ultimately.
The Godfather submerges the viewer in its underworld with a harsh color palette, tantalizing music, and the most convincing acting there is. We watch Vito—the ironic last hope in revealing to Michael what is in store for him and how important it is that he reconsider his crime throne—fade away into the darkness that consumes many scenes. Every scene is perfectly laid out and executed, with too many highlights to count...
...but if I could only discuss one, it'd be the hospital scene with the nurse and Enzo. In it we see just how much Michael loves his father Vito... and we also see the hints of his potential to follow in his father's footsteps. The way he commands the nurse to stay is unmistakably authoritative, and the urgently suave way he intimidates the potential attackers after a scene of fundamentally horrific tension: this is what movies are to do.
This film is also particularly what gangster movies are to do. We see constant manifestations of the same various hamartias in our own lives, with the characters' methods not hardly vindicated or excused as the characters themselves are understood. Still feared and unglorified, but somehow, someway understood.