Today we are reviewing the underrated film, "The Godfather Part III." "Al Pacino", "Andy Garcia", "Talia Shire", "Diane Keaton", and "Sofia Coppola" star. This film was the final film in the Godfather series. Looking back on this film, I believe it was unfairly overlooked, because of its two predecessors critical acclaim and cult status. The Godfather Part I and II were nominated for a staggering 21 Oscars (With 9 wins). Many forget this film on its own was nominated for 7 Oscars. This has been the only series of movies where the sequel critically, was viewed as better than the original. Fans loved to see the rise of the Corleone family. With part III being the fall, the fans seem to forget about this one. A reassessment should be done.
The movie takes place in 1979; about 21 years after the events in "The Godfather Part II." Michael Corleone (Pacino) has done what he promised to do. He promised to make the Corleone family 100% legitimate, and he has done that. Now Michael is completely out of the criminal life and has become a wealthy businessman and a philanthropist. At the beginning of the film Michael is being awarded the Order of Saint Sebastin award. His Vito Corleone foundation ,(Named after his late father) has helped many in the community and abroad in Italy. Michael has also donated $100 million dollars to the archbishop.
Michael's ex wife Kay (Keaton) came to the ceremony to ask him to leave their son Anthony alone. Michael has built an empire and wants all his family to be sheltered and protected in it. Anthony was attending law school to become an attorney. He has a change of heart and had a drive to be an opera singer. His father is against it. Michael wants Anthony to finish his law degree and then he can work for him. Anthony wants to go his own way, and wants nothing to do with the blood money that established the Corleone's wealth. Anthony also is still upset since he found out Michael had his uncle Fredo murdered. Michael decides to give Anthony his blessing in pursuing his singing career.
All and all Michael wants nothing to do with his past criminal lifestyle. He continues to have remorse for the wicked acts he committed. The conflict comes in when he sees Joey Zasa at his award ceremony. When he sees Zasa Mike has a distasteful look on his face. At this point anything or anyone that reminds him of his criminal past he despises. Zasa was given control of the Corleone's prior illegal business. Michael's nephew, Vincent (Garcia) is working for Zasa. Vincent states that Zasa is too bossy and is talking about Michael behind his back. Michael tries to calm things down and let's Vincent know that he had an opportunity go go legit with him, but he chose to work illegally with Zasa. After the argument is over Michael chooses not to get involved. As Vince and Zasa embrace Vince bites Zasa's ear. Micahel then chooses to place Vince in his operation.
At the ceremony Vince begins talking and becomes close with his cousin Mary (Coppola). They have not seen each other in years and immediately had chemistry together. Mary remembers certain things happening from her childhood but handles things day by day. She knows she loves her father and her family and other than a few questions from her father, she has little complaints. In her teenage world, in a wealthy family; there's little to complain about.
Later that night Zasa sent two men to kill Vincent, but they were unsuccessful. Michael still ask Vince to calm down and leave the situation alone.Michael does not want another conflict. He then embarks on buying the Vatican shares in an international real estate company called, Immobiliare. This business deal will set his family up for good, forever. He has issues with the Pope and current board members discussng his criminal past.
A meeting is held and Michael gives money to every mafia boss there for their shares in the Casino from years back. Joey Zasa is the only member who receives nothing. He storms out and minutes later a helicopter shoots and kills most of the members in the room. Michael and Vince escape before they are hit. At home, Michael contemplates what his plans are. He does not want to be involved in any criminal activity. Vince is overzealous to kill Zasa and be done with him. Mike knows that Zasa had to have the backing of another powerful mafia boss to do what he did. Mike then suffers a diabetic stroke. Mary and Vincent (although cousins) began having a romantic affair.While he is in the hospital Connie(Shire) and Al Neri gives Vincent the permission to take out Joey Zasa.
During Michael's hospitalization, Vincent plots and succeeds in killing Zasa. Once Michael returns home he is irate that a hit was decided without his permission. He manifest that he is the head of the family. Michael sees what is coming a mile away, but he knows Vince has the strength to take over. He approaches Vince and explains that he knows about he and Mary's affair, and it needs to stop. Obviously, he is upset with the incest aspect. In the end, he knows Vincent is putting Mary in danger in his position. He told Vincent your enemies will attack what you love.
The movie takes on a very dark tone at this point. The Corleone's must figure out who is the enemy that is disloyal and backed Joey, and what entities are blocking Michael from his Immobiliare acceptance. Michael realizes it's almost impossible to shake his past. It almost seems that since he's gone legit he has more issues. In the end when you add money and power to any equation, murders will take palce.
The movie is the ultimate story of karma. It's still a great film that deserves to be appreciated. I'm assuming since the previous Godfather are considered classics in American cinema, this does not measure up. Others gave "Sofia Coppola" a hard time about her performance. She did a great job in my opinion, based on her character. This movie is carried by " Pacino" and "Garcia." "Sofia's" character is more in the background and laid back. Her character was not made to be the protaginist.
My only issue is the second half of the film is spoken is spoken in Italian. I can see how theatre goers might of been frustrated by this. I was lucky enough to have subtitle option on my dvd player. With that some Italian is spoke without subtitles. Fans want to always know what the characters ar saying (no matter how little). So if you do not have subtitles, it's upsetting.This becomes annoying watching the film. Other than that I have no complaints.
When we watch these movies we tend to fall in love with these characters, so we do not like seeing anything happen to them (even if they are corrupt). It's similar to"Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back." In the end this is a must see that closes the chapters. It's dark and depressing but that's what real story telling brings many times.