The ageing Don Michael Corleone attempts to make his business dealings more legal in New York City and across to Italy in the 1979, while also trying to control his enthusiastic nephew Vincent Mancini.
Struggling to keep up with the pace as he approaches turning 60 years old Michael Corleone eventually must deal with the guilt of his actions and choices over the years. Something which in all honesty I never thought would be possible when you witnessed his rise to power and the evil turns happening from The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. I wasn’t fully sure what to expect in his final act as he wanted to get his tremendous wealth involved in the Vatican.
The money which you can argue is all very dirty was used to set up a foundation in honour of his father Vito. Michael is given plenty to deal with as news of his son wanting to stop his law degree and be an opera singer then his daughter having a love affair with her cousin Vincent Mancini. He would cause other issues for Michael as he has ended up in a feud with Joey Zasa. Just when Michael thought he was out, they pull him back in!
Trying to balance his family and keeping everyone has happy as possible. His sister Connie seems to be essential now in helping him run the business and I found this to be brilliant to see. One of the best sub-plots of the film. Going from just getting married in the first film and then going off the rails during the second. Very good full character development on that part. She seems to be able to handle Vincent as well which is not an easy task given his abrupt nature.
We are given a very powerful scene between Michael and Kay which I felt brought their story full circle in a very nice manner. Not what I was expecting for her at all, and just shows that sometimes it doesn’t matter what happens between two people that love can still survive. The final scene was truly shocking and the screams were a very haunting way to end The Godfather and in such a powerful manner.
The film received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Supporting role for Andy Garcia. Which was not something I realised considering the strange reactions and ratings towards this film. Something which now having caught up with Part II and then Part III I don’t really understand. Yes it is not a masterpiece and on the same level as the first two, but it is still a very impressive and good film. By no means a masterpiece, certainly better than so many others in this genre though.
Al Pacino takes his performance to different places than the first two films showing that Michael is really struggling as he is getting older, he just cannot do it in the same way anymore. Something that has to be applauded for feeling realistic at the very least. Andy Garcia was brilliant and deserved to be Oscar nominated that is for sure, he brings the drama and a different edge to this film. Showing that he has what it takes to take over, very quickly adapting to the new life. I feel though that the true standout performance came from Talia Shire who really showed amazing development over the course of the three films and deserves so much credit for that. Diane Keaton is given a few very good moments as well!