Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1990. Paramount Pictures, Zoetrope Studios. Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo, based on characters created by Mario Puzo. Cinematography by Gordon Willis. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Music by Carmine Coppola. Production Design by Dean Tavoularis. Costume Design by Milena Canonero. Film Editing by Lisa Fruchtman, Barry Malkin, Walter Murch. Academy Awards 1990. Golden Globe Awards 1990.
Sixteen years after we last heard about the Corleone family, they’re back with more mafia drama. Al Pacino continues his role as Michael Corleone, now an aging businessman who has left the mob behind in order to go legitimate. When he is required to go to Italy to put the vast family fortune in order, he finds himself inexplicably drawn back into the cycle of organized crime by other wheeling, dealing gangsters who want a piece of the pie. Andy Garcia plays Sonny Corleone’s son, a hotheaded trickster who is most likely to take over the family and ends up falling in love with his first cousin and Michael’s daughter Mary (Sofia Coppola). The story isn’t as well layered as the first two were, it’s miles behind its predecessors though still worthy of them, a disappointing end to the trilogy but not an unfitting one. The addition of Vatican politics to the plot makes for some interesting finger pointing, and Gordon Willis’s cinematography bathes everything in a breathtaking golden hue. Mary’s role, originally written for a then-unknown Julia Roberts, who was unavailable, then filled in by Winona Ryder, who arrived in Rome and left immediately due to illness, was eventually given to the exasperated director’s daughter; much of the eventual outcome hinges on Mary’s emotional connection to her father and to Garcia, and her inability to sell it kills a very important part of the experience. After its theatrical release, Coppola re-edited the film for video claiming that he was rushed to get the theatrical print out by Christmas, and the second version is the one that is available to view today.