The final part of the Corleone film trilogy. Once again Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather) is at the helm and most would agree that by far this is the weakest film of the three. The film series was heading towards the finish line in obvious distress, limping and dragging along.
Family leader Michael Corleone (Al Pacino – Scarface, Ocean’s Thirteen) is now in his 60s and is trying to get out of the business. But as he utters himself during the film, “I was out and then they dragged me back in”.
The Mafioso leader is reflecting back upon his life and the low moments like the death of his wife to be, his estrangement from his two children Anthony (Franc D’Ambrosio – only film) and Mary (Sophia Coppola – Peggy Sue Got Married, The Cotton Club), separation from his wife Kay (Diane Keaton – Annie Hall, Something’s Gotta Give), and the death of Fredo. He comes to the realization that he must make some changes. Michael, a very rich and powerful man, has decided that the path to his redemption is to become legitimate by linking himself and his family up with the Vatican, a war, partially caused by rival don Joey Zaza (Joe Mantegna – from television’s Criminal Minds) and partially by his hot headed nephew Vincent (Andy Garcia – The Untouchables, Ocean’s Twelve), breaks out between his family and a rival family grasping for more power.
All this stress sends Michael’s health spiraling downwards and he goes into a diabetic coma. Once out of it the fact that he must find a successor becomes even clearer to him. He is in a race to make up for all his shortcomings and evil things he has done in his life.
I was shocked when I read that in 1990 this film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Really did not think it was up to that quality. Though I am not one of those who set all the blame for the film’s shortcomings squarely on Sophia Coppola’s shoulders. Yes, she is rather wooden in her portrayal of Mary, but she is not really even a major character in the film. Meaning she does not have enough screen time to completely wreck things. If everything else around her was solid she just would have been something we could laugh at.
Though this is far from his finest film there are moments of brilliance within Francis Ford Coppola’s film. No matter the quality of the scene the cinematography and lighting is always impeccable.
Though he is a bit of a ham and probably always has been, Al Pacino does the character of Michael Corleone right. The scene where he slips into the diabetic coma is laugh-out-loud funny because of his overacting. It sorta took the drama out of a scene that should have been incredibly moving.