Rarely have I had such split emotions about a movie. I was not prepared for what I saw, and I am not sure I have a coherent opinion about this movie. It is exciting, and it is dull. It is wonderful, and it is disappointing. There is just not one opinion to form, but a great many, and very conflicting ones.
In short: the movie is about the Corleone family, a Mafia family that is trying to wrestle itself out of a complicated system of vendette that has engulfed the family’s scion, Don Vito Corleone (played by an astounding Marlon Brando). The Corleones disagree with the rest of the mafia on using drugs to make money, thinking that it is too risky and that there is a real danger that the cohabitation between government and mafia will end as soon as drugs are part of the business.
The Mafia think Corleone owes them, and they decide to destroy the Don. He fights back. Battle ensues, and most of the family is gone by the time the reel is in. Vito passes the reign first to Santino, the rash son, then to Michele, the smart one. In the end, the family will survive, but will move out of the East Coast to Nevada.
First the good news: Marlon Brando as Don Corleone is beyond adjectives. When he dies, you feel sorry not because of the screen character, but because you are not going to get any more of the acting. Marlon Brando captured the role in an act of treason to the character, and you’d think he could play Lady Di in a heartbeat, and make her look more life-like than she did.
The logic of the movie is flawless, and throughout the senseless butchery you never get confused. You always know who’s killing whom and why, and given the amount of killing, given the racial cohesiveness of the families, that’s quite amazing.
The bad: the movie is too long and gets lost easily. Some of the long scenes should have been mandatorily cut, since they contribute nothing. In the end, the 3 hours of the movie could have easily been cut down to a more standard 1.5h without hurting the movie at all maybe even improving it.
The PC correctness is gone completely, and the Italians are portrayed as a backwards people, even where one would assume otherwise.
The first wife of Michael Corleone is killed in a car bomb without any reason. She should have been cut out of the script entirely.
All in all, a great movie, but way too long. And for no reason. Although even the most boring scenen with Marlond Brando was worth it.