Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Godfather II

This movie is something, really something. Having been raised in strict discipline and culture where you’re taught that the most important thing was and will always be, is family, the story becomes immediately identifiable. It’s insane how similar the Italian culture is with the Asian culture. The Godfather Part II is my favourite Western movie of all time and I say this with all due respect to some amazing movies such as The Godfather, The Truman Show, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Fight Club, The Lion King (!) and few more.

The sheer brilliance of this movie varies incredibly, from the directorial decisions (starting and ending the movie with focus on Michael Corleone’s expressions; masterfully executing the nature of the family business; effortlessly moving from ‘present’ to ‘past’ through a change in lighting, music and atmosphere, etc.) to the versatility of the orchestra (peaceful and calm whilst we’re in the ‘past’, loud and happening when we’re in the ‘present’) right down to the excellent, near-perfect performances from Pacino, De Niro and Robert Duvall. My future reviews will certainly speak about these elements that contribute into making an amazing movie.
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However, for this movie, I want to speak about why it is particularly special to me and, perhaps why it could be special to you too; it’s pretty hard for me to write much about this without making my father come across as a complete nutcase or making myself come across likewise but I’ll definitely give it a go.
In life, I have two contrasting brothers, an innocent sister, a beautiful mother and an authoritative father so the context of the family in the movie is very similar to that of my life. Where it gets deeper and closer though, is in the idea that my father, just like Vito Corleone, has been a highly-regarded figure in our society for years; I've grown up to watching my father help, advise and loan money to members of our family, a selection of close and distant friends and sometimes even complete strangers. The way Vito kept his dignity and pride in the moment he lost his job at the supermarket is something I have always witnessed in my father’s eyes when he is faced with hardship, difficulty and injustice; the way Vito was respected and feared once he had announced himself as a worthy figure in the local area is something I have always witnessed when people have communicated with my father; the way Vito is referred to as ‘Don Corleone’, similar to how my father is referred to (he’s not a Don, though. Relax!). However, credit for these thoughts in my head and these suggestions of similarity goes to Robert De Niro and his impeccable abilities as an actor.

This isn’t the first time I’ve compared my father to a De Niro character; his stark and ambiguous performance as Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas has had me sit down and analyse my father’s movements, expressions and characteristics for hours and hours. His performance as the young Vito could well be the greatest acting performance of all time considering the pressure of comparisons with Marlon Brando. As an actor myself, I've been incredibly inspired by De Niro in this movie specifically. It’s in the realness of his acting, the detail, the honesty, the rawness. Just writing about his performance brings a smile of admiration to my face. Make a note of his expressions, movement and speech in the scenes with the landlord whom failed to recognise him. I’ve realised that it’s not his characters that are similar to my father; it’s the way De Niro has bought them to life.

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My theatrical version of Stan

My theatrical version of Stan