The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★½

“If history has taught us anything, it’s that you can kill anyone.” 

If The Godfather is about who is doing the murdering, then Part II is about who is getting murdered. That’s for sure. Death is played here on a sheet of one-note music — that note being tragic, deeply upsetting, and impactful. Coppola capitalizes on a few major set-ups, too, in golden fashion. Kay gets the door. Fredo fumbles. Michael descends into the darkness without looking back. Unfortunately, it’s told sporadically, intermittently, without much parallel to Vito’s own backstory. I found myself enamored with De Niro’s section, intrigued by Pacino’s section, and I really wish Coppola had kept them segmented and separated. My one major complaint with Part II has and, I guess, always will be that its length is felt by its inability to echo the themes of each story. I can’t help but feel that if the film’s first half focused strictly on Vito, establishing its distinctly Italian-born, American-made roots, it’d all gel better after an intermission and a jump back into the story of Michael’s descent. Where it is now, functionally, it’s sometimes defunct, but emotionally, subtextually, and characteristically, it’s perfect.

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