mattmav45’s review published on Letterboxd:
Quite honestly it's hard to even know how to start reviewing a film like this.
This is very much a showcase of classy filmmaking, but it's so much more than that. This is one of those films in which everything is simply masterful. Not one single aspect really stands out because everything is simply damn good. No words can truly do justice to transcendent material such as this, but I will do my best to convey the stand-out aspects for me.
Perhaps what struck me first and foremost was the way in which the film was shot. The way the shadows mingle with the light here is simply fantastic. The camera work allows the darkness of the Mafia to mix simultaneously the elegance. It makes for a hypnotizing mix. Nothing less than brilliant filmmaking on display here.
There is a rare mix of larger than life characters combined with larger than life acting here. In fact, I'm not quite sure this combo has ever been displayed such as it is here. The acting is so damn good that for me, these aren't merely characters in a film. These are in fact real people in real world situations. There cannot be a greater compliment in film than what I just described.
When you break down the film fully, this is basically the ultimate origin film for Michael. And dear god, what a journey it is. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Michael and the cook try to look like Mafia guards at the hospital to intimidate others from attacking Don. You see afterward that the cook is visibly shaken from the events. Michael thereafter in a very cool and calm fashion lights the cook's cigarette for him. This is the very definition of epic as it has so much impact afterward. I love how small events such as these change lives for others.
Simply put........no words can truly do justice. One of those films in which the title is more than enough to convey the power and greatness associated.