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Monday, March 14, 2011

the one about the godfather

I got to watch the godfather again recently. This was an amazing movie, exploring the limits of family and what we would do for it, it dwelt on rationalization for actions without any justification, on crime and what it does to the soul and body, on the consequences for every action, physical and emotional and it was perfectly cast. I believed all the characters, all their motivations and why they did the things they did. And to make it even better it was based on an amazing book. The kind of book that shakes your world views, that moves you to the core. And most movies based on books usually lose the narrative thread that holds everything together but this didn’t. It stayed true to the vision of the author. I loved every minute of it.

But I have failed to see the inherent comicility (and I know this is not a real word, it doesn’t even feel real but it seemed to fit.) till right now, I have seen this on internet articles ever since I started reading and I feel like it’s something that I can finally do, and it deserves some ceremony so this paragraph is said ceremony, here is my very first spoiler alert.

SPOILER ALERT: if you have not watched The Godfather, this may contain certain plot points that may hinder your enjoyment of the movie.

The first scene I caught was when Michael has been banished to Sicilia. He is walking with his 2 bodyguards when he sees this woman. She is beautiful, jaw dropping and he stops, his whole heart, his head, everything is her for a moment and he must have her. He has been struck by the thunderbolt. they walk into town and start talking to this old man about her. They go into such a vivid description. Made all the more comical cos one of the bodyguards only ever repeats what the other guy says. And for 5 minutes they talk about her. And this old guy joins in, appreciating her beauty and her vavoom vicariously and they talk about her as only an Italian can. The passion clear in every sentence, the gestures wide and exaggerated, the metaphors fit to bring a smile to the face of even the most radical feminist. And then it turns out this guy is the girl’s father. Shit1 right. these guys just talked about his daughter for 5 minutes and worse he joined in. he didn’t know who they were talking about granted but he finds out and this is pure sit-com gold. He is angry, agitated and wants them gone.

But he gets treated to the Corleone stare, he settles down and Michael gives him his offer. He explains to the old man that he is a fugitive from the law in America and that he is in Italy hiding from the cops. He then goes on to tell him that he could make a lot of money selling that information but that if he did, he would be dead.

This is really not the way to talk to a prospective girlfriend’s father. You don’t admit your criminal record right off the bat. You hide the alcohol; well at least you hide the fact that you smoked weed that one time. But this guy he comes right out and says he is wanted by the police and then he threatens the guy’s life. Things are different in Sicilia. And while great literature is a great place to find out how to work through life will not go the full disclosure way of Michael Corleone.

Back in America, his brother has to deal with their bother in law who dared to raise a finger to their sister. He gets in a car and drives over to where the guy is and delivers a beat down. He takes it to the street, he punches him, he kicks him, he takes garbage and pours it all over him before he picks up the pail and uses it to bet him up. He bites his fist, he bites his fist. I have never seen a grown man beaten so mercilessly.

Just a few short scenes later we see domestic violence. Connie Corleone gets a call from her husband’s gumah. She is understandably angry and shouts and screams at him stuff then breaks the plates in the house. She breaks everything. Every cup, plate, utensil. And he lets her. And this scene is really long so you get a sense of her passion. When she’s done he orders her to clean it up. Then he unbelts and uses his belt on her and as much as that may read like innuendo, it is not. He beats her with it. They run through their apartment and we see this guy give no quarter, none at all. He follows her into the bathroom and this woman must be terrified, she calls her brother who jumps into his car to come save her.

In one of the most classically contrived set-ups ever there are assassins waiting for him on the road. And they go into overdrive. Overkill has no description like this scene. They pump him so full of lead it’s practically an endorsement for president. They shoot so many holes in him he could be a saint(holy). They use more bullets than a PowerPoint presentation and when he’s deader than any hope that smallville will become any good, they still kick him in the face.