Fans of cinema are positively unanimous in the lauded praise of The Godfather parts one and two. While they certainly didn’t make as much of an impact on me as I was expecting, I still appreciate the hard work put in by director Francis Ford Coppola. I’d heard rough opinions on the final instalment in the trilogy, but I’d not expected The Godfather III to be this redundantly useless. Completely devoid of point and interest, yet somehow pulls it together to make a barely passable film.
Al Pacino returns as an aging Michael Corleone, having to live with life away from his family as he tries to legitimise his business, a promise he made way back in The Godfather II. Pacino is one of the few good parts to this movie, giving a solid enough performance to keep the movie as a whole afloat. The only trouble is that for the first half of the movie, nobody is really given anything to do. Introducing a slew of new characters really detracts from the pacing of the movie and makes it more a chore to watch than anything of interest.
Returning cast members like Talia Shire and Diane Keaton don’t really offer anything of interest, they’re merely there to show that Michael is no longer connected to his family. That’s pretty much the driving force of the narrative, and you can see Pacino squirm at times under the mounting pressure of an ever-difficult story. What doesn’t help though is that the inclusion of new cast members offers up nothing of interest. Andy Garcia, Sofia Coppola and Joe Mantegna all offer little in the wake of their starring roles, attempting to replicate the powerhouse performances seen in the first two movies.
It’s such a strange cast, I would’ve thought heavy hitting actors would be used, not Andy Garcia. His performance isn’t memorable or interesting in the slightest, at least he’s not the main focus of the movie.
Coppola’s direction is enjoyable enough, as it was with the first two iterations of The Godfather saga. Long, lingering shots that pry on the mind of his leading characters. The opera scene intercut with the final act is a nice bit of cinematography and editing, but aside from these final few minutes of the movie, there’s nothing to see in The Godfather III.
Feeling more like a chore and mandatory statement than a film that really adds anything to the previous two movies, The Godfather III is a barely enjoyable movie. Aside from the strong direction of Coppola and the varying performance of Pacino, there’s nothing really worthwhile throughout unless you’re desperate to see the end of Michael Corleone.