Saturday, 2 July 2011
The Godfather Part II 
Very rarely does a sequel manage to hold a candle to the original; The Godfather Part II didn’t just equal The Godfather, which remains a cornerstone in American cinema, number of cineastes, including yours truly, have opined that it even managed to go one step ahead. Francis Ford Coppola’s follow-up to his legendary adaptation of Mario Puzo’s tale of family and honour was both a prequel and continuation of the original. The film has two threads running in parallel – aptly placed flashback sequences chronicle the escape of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) from Sicily as a child and his subsequent rise in power in a working-class New York neighbourhood; the ‘present’ on the other hand shows the continuation of familial legacy and making of inroads into Las Vegas and Havana by Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). While the original had limited its scope to the Corleone family, the sequel expanded it to far beyond such confines as it juxtaposed the Corleone saga (that too in two distinctly different timeframes) with that of modern American history. Yet, for all its breathtaking scope, the film also managed to be a fascinating human story – Vito’s chance introduction to the world of guns and his smart rise while retaining his sanity, on one hand, and Michael’s all-encompassing power and his absolute ruthlessness, on the other. Incredibly photographed, elegiacally paced, and hauntingly scored, the film’s grand vision and its melancholic tone are worth beholding. Al Pacino was absolutely devastating as Michael, while Robert De Niro was no less arresting as the young Vito. The supporting cast was also superb, especially Lee Strasberg as Michael’s double-edged ally, and John Cazale as Fredo, his tragic brother, whose murder provides the final death knell to any chances for his redemption.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Genre: Crime Drama/Gangster Movie/Epic