Film of the Week: The Godfather (1972)

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Francis Ford Coppola directs Al Pacino, James Caan and Marlon Brando in this tale of a 1940s mafia family being torn apart by outside rivalries.

The Godfather is a sumptuous experience to just get lost in. Classical in pace, calmly inventive in shot composition, perfectly cast. Like deliberately dense HBO shows The Wire or Deadwood repeat viewings allow you to immerse yourself in hidden subplots and character arcs – this time I noticed what eventual payback is asked of everyone who is granted a favour in the iconic opening sequence – but you could equally concentrate on the background wives or  unrelated goons and see that no part has been left without some shift over the year and events of this epic. That deeply layered approach, full of an artisan’s care and craft, is what makes The Godfather one of the true greats. You get the feeling, more than any other entertainment, that every fibre, edit and word has been deliberated over by Coppola to perfection. It is a timeless masterpiece of cinematic art with not one hair out of place. Tremendous stuff.


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