Sam’s review published on Letterboxd:
Damn that bolognese Clemenza was making looked fucking delicious. Then I defended the Bolognese' honour to the rest of my family who were disgusted by it.
The ethical discussions cinema can bring. Truly art brings the world together.
The opening scene is just magnificent. The fear and power money brings, (and visa versa) is unbeatable. Seeing how Don manipulates a man who's already putty in his hands using manners as a front for why this guy hasn't been his service is one of the many ways the mobsters utilise social pleasantries as a threatening weapon. This screen obsession with mafia fully makes sense, it's ritualised violence only done for business, or for loyalty. The two virtues of western capitalism. There is a consistent profession of admiration of the US by these semi-legitimate crims in this film that can be read as a searing indictment or love letter to the American dream. Violence is made through pre-emptive fear of losing power rather than any actual material conditions. This creates a cascade of murders that the family consider a a hideous exception to the rule whereas one street level mobster tells Michael these epidemics of murders happen every 5 years.
It makes sense that these 'civilised' mobsters are so culturally loved by most of the western world, they mostly articulate what moderates of the 70's believed. Sex workers, gambling and murders are acceptable vices, drugs are a step too far. Ok, well at a push drugs are fine if they're for black people. The casual racism- well- overt racism is almost hilarious. Sonny (the loveable jock) is nice to his wife while banging on the side, and he is deeply defensive of his sister who is shown to have an awful abusive husband, telling him off in the middle of getting angry about the slow ascendance of black people in society.
The film is considered slow and arty, but the appreciation of culture, family, and once it ramps up, the violence is almost every second scene.
I'm sure the divergence in the plot to focus on Michael being in Witness Protection in Sicily would in infuriating to some, but the idea the mob is impossible to escape is terrifying and it's fun to indulge in the overt Italian culture, featuring weddings, hot italians and beautiful environment and architecture.
Eh, everything I've said is obvious or belaboured by others. It's fucking good, and much more palatable and blockbuster than I previously remembered while still retaining the intelligent dialogue, themes and dark humour.