The Godfather: Part III

The Godfather: Part III ★★★

The violent history of the Corleone crime family did conclude on an ideal note in The Godfather Part II but thanks to the unquenchable greed of studio executives plus the dire financial circumstances director Francis Ford Coppola found himself in during that time, what was until then a perfectly flawless motion picture saga ultimately got tainted by a much inferior third instalment, which wasn't even required in the first place.

Continuing the story of Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III finds the aging & guild-ridden Mafia kingpin seeking ways to legitimise his criminal empire, having slowly distanced himself & his family from the underworld over the years. But his efforts to come out clean is thwarted when an assassination attempt made on his life begins a new era of bad blood between different families. Meanwhile, the Don takes a young protégé under his wing.

Co-written, produced & directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who had already lost every single creative brain cell during the making of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Part III packs in a pretty weak story and while it manages to replicate the look of its predecessors, it lacks the precision care, passion & dedication with which the first two instalments were brought to life for the screenplay that Coppola co-wrote with Mario Puzo simply lacks the same level of intensity, tenaciousness & quality.

The technical aspects are finely executed to match the ambience of the previous two films, as evident in its gorgeously detailed set pieces, shooting style, colour tones as well as numerous references to earlier chapters. At 162 minutes, it has the shortest runtime of the three yet is the most difficult to sit through for much of its plot is nothing but plodding and could've benefited from a bit more trimming in the editing room. And the soundtrack by Carmine Coppola only incorporates the previously used tracks and for the most part, stays within the franchise's realms.

Coming to the performances, the cast comprises of Al Pacino, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, Eli Wallach, Sofia Coppola & others and while the reprising cast is able to impress once again, the new members fail to leave a lasting mark. Pacino does amazingly well for the most part and he's brilliantly supported by the well-balanced inputs from Shire & Keaton. Garcia is the best of the new cast yet he's easily overshadowed by the mere presence of the veterans. Wallach chips in with welcome contribution, And the director's daughter commits career-suicide by delivering an awfully terrible performance.

On an overall scale, The Godfather Part III gets a lot of flak for leaving a dent on what could've been an unblemished cinematic legacy but it's not really as bad as it is made out to be. In fact, it's quite underrated for the film has its share of interesting moments but then, none of it was ever required. Coppola has himself stated that The Godfather series is two films with this one serving as an epilogue, and that pretty much sums up his own opinion about this chapter. Lacking commitment in direction, severely marred by absence of depth or refinement in its screenplay, and further brought down by underwhelming work from its cast, The Godfather Part III is somewhat under-appreciated but it's also unworthy of its title.

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