FistfulReviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I don’t feel I have to wipe out everybody, Tom. Just my enemies.”
Words can’t express or describe the sheer greatness of this film. An epic in every definition of the word. It was not only entertaining, but also emotionally powerful and compelling. It’s going to be so difficult for me to choose between this and the first film.
The Godfather Part II continues the story of the Corleone family, this time following Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his difficulties in the late 1950s, as well as that of a young immigrant Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in New York during the late 1910s, as he is drawn into a life of crime.
I can’t really say anything about this movie that hasn’t already been said. It’s a classic for a reason, and now I finally understand for myself. The entire cast gave some of the best performances I’ve seen in a film, especially Robert De Niro. Robert De Niro portrayed Vito Corleone so well. When I first saw him onscreen, I thought to myself: “How could this be the Vito Corleone that I know and respect. He’s nothing like him.”. But then as he is drawn closer towards a life of crime and violence, I start to see Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone come out in this young man, whether it be the way he speaks, the words he uses, his hand movements, his calmness under pressure, or his voice, it all started coming together, and by the end I was thinking to myself: “This man is Vito Corleone.”. That is why I believe Robert De Niro gave the best performance in the entire film. He had to act like he was another actor, and he did it perfectly. As for Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, and Robert Duvall, well it’ll come to no surprise that they were all still fantastic. They’re performances all made for some crazy iconic and compelling scenes. Especially John Cazale and Al Pacino in the scene where Michael kisses Fredo.
“You broke my heart.”
And I found this film’s story a little more intriguing than that of the last film. I loved how they weaved in a young Vito story, and how they jumped back and forth between time periods, while also keeping a steady flow between both stories. This movie has an impeccable script, not only for the story, but for the amazing dialogue and characters. Michael Corleone is such a layered character. I saw him as a sad and broken person, feeling the need to be strong like his father for the rest of his family.
And I loved a lot of the cinematography as well. Some of the shots they used made the scenes feel more haunting or chilling when they needed them too, or even more sad or bleak. The cinematography really helped craft this film’s general tone, so that’s why I believe it was so important.
There are tons and tons of great movies out there, but some movie are loved for sometimes just a few aspects. Sometimes it’s the writing, or the acting, or the camerawork, or the color palette, but it seems as though The Godfather Part II focuses on every important aspect so deeply, so that it can be appreciated for so much more than some other films. It’s truly a masterpiece of a film, compelling and captivating in all the best ways.