Mike Torchic’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whelp....I've finally did it, I watched the Godfather. From this point on there's no going back, I'm a changed man. The Godfather is one of the best films I have ever seen in my life, no questions asked.
The plot takes place from 1945 to sometime in the 1950's and follows Don Corleone, the leader of the Corleone crime family. I hate to say it, but that's all I can say really about the plot. There is so much that goes on, that it would be hard to describe this film without going into spoiler territory. I can say some of the themes this film presents. Some themes are loyalty, betrayal, love and above all, family. That's the key word for this film, family. Don Corleone is the patriarch (or don) of this family that includes many members. Some people that aren't even blood related worship the Don as a father figure. The don is a guy that will get stuff done. One of the main characters besides the Don is his youngest son Michael Corleone. Michael is a WWII veteran and is initially reluctant to joining the family business. His progression to accept and ultimately be apart of the family business is a main focus of the film. Another focus is an ongoing war between the five families. As I said before, there is a lot of story to cover in this one film and is hard to go in depth without discussing spoilers. From what I've heard from people like my Grandmother (this is her favorite movie), it's an extremely faithful adaptation of the novel. I'd believe this mainly because along with Francis Ford Coppola, the writer of the novel, Mario Puzo, wrote the film. I cannot praise the writing enough. It covers so much ground and develops many of these characters so well. I also have to say that this film is paced extremely well. For a film that is almost 3 hours long, It didn't feel that way at all. This film is so engaging and will keep you eagerly anticipating what will happen next. There is never a dull moment in this film, I'm dead serious. One moment things can be all calm and peaceful and the next thing you know it someone is being brutally murdered. Many of these characters are so complex and at times unpredictable. On the surface, characters like Sonny Corleone could be perceived as a calm and nicer guy. As the film progresses you see that he's more short tempered and acts on impulse. Other characters like Michael Corleone slowly change throughout the film. He starts off as someone who is reluctant to join the family business, but as the film progresses grows to accept it and join it. Same could be said for Don Corleone. Up until an event that occurs about 45 minutes into the film, he's ruthless and will do anything to get what he wants. After this event he starts to get "soft" and tries to end this fued between the five families. It's characters like these that make you sympathize and make you wonder what they're going to do next.
The cast is phenomenal with everyone giving it their all. Marlon Brando is fantastic as the intimidating Don Corleone. He really gives his all with this performance and as the character changes, he changes. I do have to admit, because of the way he spoke I couldn't understand some of his lines but the rest of this film makes up for that. Al Pacino is stellar as Michael Corleone. As I said with Brando, he changes as the character does. In the beginning you can see that he's more of a happy person, but as the film goes on he is more straight faced and stern. I also really enjoyed James Caan as Sonny Corleone. He is very unpredictable and will keep you guessing what he's gonna do next.
The direction by Francis Ford Coppola is amazing. While the copy I watched didn't really hold up in terms of quality, I felt almost like it added to the atmosphere of the film. The cinematography in the film is gorgeous, especially some of the wide shots. Gordon Willis's cinematography definitely is one of the highlights of the film for me, even though some of the quality of the scenes didn't hold up.
The music by Nino Rota is phenomenal. That main theme especially gave me chills whenever it came on. The entire score has sort of an eerie atmosphere to it. The score anso uses more brass and woodwind instruments as opposed to strings instruments which makes it sound more eerie and mysterious. The score may be my favorite part of the film besides the story.
Overall, The Godfather is a phenomenal film that should be viewed by everyone at some point. To people that haven't seen this film, I urge you to watch this immediately. You will not be disappointed, trust me.
Do I get my film lovers card yet??