Sakamoto Reviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
- Don Corleone
The Godfather: Part ll is a pretty good follow up to the first. It’s split between two stories one focusing around a young Vito Corleone making his life in America and his son Michael trying to establish a Casino deal that will take the Corleone family legitimate whilst trying to protect his family.
Acting once again is really good. Al Pacino delivers again another excellent performance full of subtlety and tranquility. I think he only raised his voice once and it was entertaining to recognize how different he sounds as opposed to Tony Montana in Scarface. John Cazale does a good job as Michaels brother Fredo. He has an aura of slimy scumbag to him, he also serves as a good opposite to Michael. I found something rather engaging and relatable regarding his character specifically that being the older brother being pushed around. It’s something that on the surface seems a bit pathetic but when you’re in the position it’s hard not to feel that way and want to strive to do something more even if it means making dumb decisions. Robert De Niro steps in to play a young version of Vito Corleone and it’s as close to perfect casting as you can get. He does a fine job of emulating Marlon Brandos I take mannerisms.
Some issues I would point out is that the Vito storyline is 10X more interesting than half the stuff Michael is going through. I think the implications and ramifications of Michaels storyline is interesting that being the death of Fredo and his separation from Kay but everything regarding Hyman Roth and Frank isn’t nearly as interesting as it could have been or was intended. The Vito storyline while extremely interesting has very little to do with the Michael storyline but I would consider that a thematic issue as opposed to an actual narrative one. Some of the problems from the first one still plague this installment that being the mentioning of people and situations we never see or how certain side characters get blended together.
Some scenes that stood out to me as unique and engaging is the shooting at Lake Tahoe, the court hearings with Michael and Frank, Vito Corleone killing Don Fanucci and then killing Don Cicci, the flashback scene with the entire Corleone family talking about Michaels future, the death of Fredo and the scene between Michael and Kay. Excellent acting in all of those scenes.
Overall a pretty good follow up even if the storyline isn’t as engaging as its predecessor it does a lot of stuff that progresses the art of storytelling above and beyond while making me feel connected to this family in some odd way.