Reviews

The Godfather: Part II

5

Beware of oranges in the cinema

Suffering sequel fatigue? Then refresh yourself at the well of this reissue of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 Shakespearian Mafia tragedy, but be warned that most sequels look smaller afterwards.

Coppola justifies the length by going deeper as he goes broader, moving forwards to watch Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) expand his empire at cost; and backwards, in sumptuous sepia, to plot Michael’s father Vito’s (an Oscar-winning Robert De Niro) rise.

The plotting is elliptical and the sweep intoxicates, but the contrast between De Niro’s meditative Vito and Pacino’s soul-starved eyes brings piercing focus to Coppola’s resonating study of corrupting power. Part III didn’t stand a chance.

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