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GODFATHER 01 Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda, Al Lettieri, Lenny Montana, Al Martino, Alex Rocco,The Godfather: first of three movies based on Mario Puzo’s tale of the Sicilian Mafia in New York, circa 1945-1955. There’s no denying that certain aspects of the film are great: it’s littered with original, shocking, powerful, and iconic scenes; there’s page after page of beautifully written dialogue (monologues and large conversations); the cast is truly monumental, and almost everyone is outstanding in their character’s portrayal. My biggest problem with The Godfather is that the sound mix is atrocious and – worse still – some character’s accents are so thick and/or non-enunciated that I watched the entire film with subtitles, in order to make any sense of some characters. Another flaw in the movie is that it could have been edited down, a lot; there’s entire sections of the film that have minimal impact on the story, but drag on and refuse to end (wedding, Sicily…). The direction’s OK – although editing is fairly rough – and the score really adds a punch to the movie. Perhaps this suffers from the ‘Chinatown Effect’ in that a mixture of lifelong hype, and the movie’s impact being far greater when it was released, that modern audiences are left a little cold and short-changed after seeing it. The Godfather feels like a great film diluted down into a good film, but ‘best film of all time’… sit your guinea-wop ass down in front of the tube, put on Godfellas, and tell me this is better – if ya do, ya’ll be sleeping with the fishes, see?

Score: 6/10

GODFATHER 02 Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda, Al Lettieri, Lenny Montana, Al Martino, Alex Rocco,

Heat: a professional robber and homicide detective go head to head in a battle of wits, guns and getting the job done. The film is laden with superb moments & set-pieces: action, suspense and climaxes, which means that the film is gripping, explosive and unpredictable for the most part. You couldn’t hand-pick a greater cast of actors at their peak – right down to the extras (including Henry Rollin’s neck!!). Both leads are fantastic, equally volatile yet in-control men, despite the contrast between Pacino’s shouting / flailing and  De Niro’s calm / focused anti-hero. Both portrayals are physical, entertaining, and career-tipping performances, so much so that by the end, you don’t really want either to snuff it. The biggest problem is that, by wanting to keep the film believable and give it more clout, almost every character gets some back-story, which means that the film spends some time opening lots of minor tangents, many of which are never resolved or revisited – or related to the plot. There’s no question about it, Heat is an outstanding film, and I’d love to give it 9, or 10, but I’d  have been much happier watching a three-hour film focused almost exclusively on the two central performances, than have them share the runtime with a multitude of smaller, less relevant characters.

Score: 8/10

“Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”