i’m pretty sure i watched this movie about 8-9 years ago, but i didn’t remember anything other than the horse scene so perhaps i haven’t. at any rate, i certainly didn’t get as much out of it before as i did this time. it’s a great film and it’s one of those rare long films (just shy of three hours) that you don’t mind watching. hoop dreams, magnolia and the great escape are the only films i really love that are around the three hour mark. my fair lady is up there too, but to a lesser extent.
the film unfolds so organically and tugs the viewer along ever so slightly. it doesn’t move at a snail’s pace and it doesn’t wear you out with too much detail or minutiae, at the same time we get to know the characters well and we do see the nitty gritty of the business. there’s always some danger lurking or some allegiance that is unsteady which keeps the viewer on his toes. of course the film is expertly directed and the acting and music all support the writing as well. it all comes down to the writing, though. the film comes full circle with the talia shire plotline – she is married in the opening scene and the final scene is the fallout after her husband’s death. between these bookends we see everything that goes on within the family and its business. the writing is detailed – it shows the politics of the business as well as the fallout on the human end. we see the good and bad of what the godfather must do as a don. i think we ultimately like him for two reasons: because we know him more than his adversaries and because audiences always admire skillful characters.
seeing pacino’s transformation in the film is one of the more rewarding parts of watching the film. it’s rewarding because it’s sad and moving and all those things we look for in film. pacino, as an actor, pulls it off perfectly. if it wasn’t for this film there would likely not have been a goodfellas or casino.