The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Extraordinary filmmaking. I am not among those who feel it is better that the original, but in many ways this sequel outdoes its predecessor. Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis again frames the story in both emotional and tangible hues. The transitions between the young Vito and more contemporary scenes are appropriate and effective. Coppola stated that he loved evoking the early days, happy to write many scenes of the new Americans building their city, and lives. He could've easily taken three and one half hours with just that. Robert DeNiro (talking Italian) delivers a perfect performance as the up and coming don, a stand up guy shown to kill only when it protects others from oppression. But also in the name of vengeance.

Michael is all about vengeance, even against his own brother. The heartbreaking central story of this movie is the kid brother discovering that Fredo (John Casale) has betrayed him. This family drama is some of the most arresting cinema I've ever seen. Do not discount the storyline of Michael's wife Kay's (Diane Keaton) miscarriage, which leads to a powerhouse confrontation between husband and wife. Pacino handles these scenes so beautifully. Watch his eyes. They're slicked over and red when he learns the truth about Kay's tragedy, or anytime he speaks of his older brother. The actor spends most of the movie betraying nothing with his icy veneer; it's a performance of nuance, and must have been monstrously difficult and draining.

And those final moments, when a man's fate is sealed. His character, his destiny.

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