The Godfather

Normally I write some rough notes about a film as I’m watching it in order to help me write these reviews afterward. The Godfather had me hooked, and I almost forgot.

The Godfather is a film I’ve been planning to watch for a long time, but have put off (as I wrote in my review for Scarface, I don’t particularly care for gangster films - nevertheless, I’m trying to watch some of the classics). The Godfather is not a film to be enjoyed, but it is a film to see nevertheless. The performances of Marlon Brando andAl Pacino are extremely strong, and it’s hard to imagine that the studio disapproved of the participation of both these actors. Fundamentally, the Godfather is about family ties and trust (or lack of it) rather than dominance and winning, and this - in my crude analysis - is how it differs from a film like Scarface.

It’s also impressive how Pacino managed to pull off a role in both films - despite both being about Italian-American gangsters, his characters in each couldn’t be more different. The mobsters in The Godfather do rule by fear, but they do it subtly. Some scenes made me very nervous - as it turned out, for no reason. OK, the notorious horse’s-head-in-a-bed scene is a bit explicit and gory, but it’s about all the film has to offer in terms of real shock value.

The Godfather isn’t particularly excellent technically. Some of the shots aren’t exactly in focus, there’s some obvious cheap stock footage of various landscapes in the correct period dress, and the film does tend to ramble a little in certain scenes. But nevertheless, I can’t wait to see the much-lauded part II, which has to be one of defining characteristics of a good film.