Adam’s Film Friday – A Review of The Godfather Part III

Welcome to the third and final week of my Godfather trilogy reviews.  The Godfather Part III, is generally considered the weakest of the three films due to a poor storyline and sub par acting from some of the supporting cast.  However I feel that when looking at the film by itself, it presents a solid conclusion to the story we’ve become enthralled with in the first two installments.  It shows us how money, power, and greed can determine how/where people end up in the world.

Taking place 21 years after the conclusion of the second film, Michael Corleone (still played by Al Pacino) is all but retired from the family business and the once powerful Corleone family is a shell of its former self.  Michael, still wealthy from some gambling profits, is trying to make the family legitimate and starts a foundation with his money; it is led by his daughter Mary Corleone, who is played by director Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter Sofia.  Michael’s son Anthony has decided to quit law school and not go into the family business, instead pursuing a career as an opera singer.  This initially angers Michael, but eventually he comes around much to the happiness of his ex-wife Kaye.  While this is going on, Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) appears on the scene.  Viewers come to find out that his is Sonny’s illegitimate child, making him Michael’s nephew.  With all these events, we see a regeneration of the problems and questions which permeated the first two films: loyalty, right vs. wrong, and now a new question of forgiveness. How will this journey end for the Corleone family?

Let me start off by saying this film gets a lot of unnecessary flack. Yes, it is not as good when compared to the first two, but it’s not a terrible film. It is able to do what it was meant to do: provide this trilogy and the story of these people’s lives with some sort of conclusion. The first two films gave us insight into the Corleone past, but this story filled in the blanks and gave us an idea of how some of our favorite characters end their journey. I think that was important especially after how much I loved the first two films; I wanted to see how Michael ended his journey, and how the decisions he made in his life affected him in the end.

Once again Francis Ford Coppola was able to direct a really good film, where the whole film built upon itself to reach the conclusion.  Every scene matters, and when you get to the conclusion you are truly stunned by what happens, although it fits in perfectly with the rest of the film.  Once again, Al Pacino plays Michael, this time as a man who has reflected on his life. Pacino gives a solid performance, but the best performance of the film has to be Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini.  Mancini has a lot of the same traits as Michael from the second film such as being ambitious and willing to do what it takes, but Andy Garcia played him in a way that was more solid and you truly believe his motives.  He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and definitely lived up to his nomination.  When he is on-screen, you’re drawn to him and his character and you want to see where he ends up.  On the other hand, a performance that gets a lot of flack and is sometimes said to be one of the worst performances in cinematic history is Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone.  I didn’t think she was terrible, but it’s clear that she was uncomfortable being on-screen.  I don’t know if she didn’t want the part, but she had said she never wanted to be an actress.  Her awkwardness on-screen worked in some scenes, especially given her character was a 21-year-old girl who loves her father despite all he’s done.  Was the worst performance in cinematic history?  No, I have seen a lot worse in other films.

All in all, The Godfather Part III was a perfect conclusion to the series.  In comparison to the first two it’s nowhere as good, but when you look at the film on its own it’s a good film with relatable characters and a story that has a satisfying ending.  As always, I leave you with a question: do you think the decisions we make today impact our relationships with people down the road?

Until next time, Happy viewing.

4 out of 5 stars

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