The Godfather

The Godfather ★★★★★

It's been a good 15 years since I watched The Godfather and revisiting this classic was definitely worth the time, but not just for the iconic characters or the incredible themes of family, power and moral values; I felt a strong sense of mythic storytelling in Coppola's interesting gangster cycle.

Michael's arc, as fascinating and complex as it is, strikes me as a corollary to Sauron from the Lord of the Rings, Lucifer from Paradise Lost, or Prometheus from Greek myth. The Corelone family is clearly in its twilight passage out of existence as the film opens, and with an ailing Don, a hapless henchman and quibbling insecure heirs, the All-American Good Guy Gangster was more candle in the wind than burning flame.

Enter the outsider, Michael, who seizes the weak, gasping flame and breathes life into its fireplace of embered ash. He protects the Don on the night he should have been by all accounts whacked, advises the unwise Sonny, exiles consigliere Tom and shoulders entirely the weight of the once proud family.

As Michael surveys the perpetual weakness of his siblings, Sonny's quick rage and Fredo's insecure cowardice, he resolves to wrest the flame from its mantle and move the Corleone family into the post-war era himself. Values of family, community and loyalty are upended by plays for power, money and territory. What Vito hated in Sollozzo, snakes its way into Michael; the times have simply changed.

As Michael lies, kills and deceives, his power grows until finally his goal of Godather is realized, and the passage of ages that should have wiped the family out, dissapates like the rolling tides. His coronation scene, at the baptism, regardless off its genius use of cinematic language, clearly puts the name Satan in his mouth as part of his oath to his son. These lines, I promise, are no coincidence.

After Michael's ascension, what family now bears the name Corleone? Surely not the same that the film opened with. In name alone does this mobster syndicate compare to the crime family it effortlessly replaced.

Those that stand against the passage of time, from the age of the Gods down to the age of Man, are the necessary usurpers in all myth cycles. Just as Prometheus defied the Gods and sought fire to help fledgling Humanity, Michael Corleone covets, steals and bears that same holy flame and holds it high in the legendary American fable: The Godfather 🔥🔥🔥

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