Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) looks to expand his business to Las Vegas, Florida and pre-revolution Cuba whilst also experiencing a collapsing marriage and a failing relationship with his brother. Go back fifty years and the early life of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) is shown. He transforms from a young Sicilian-born boy into one of the most respected and feared Mafia Don’s in 1920s New York.
First of all, can I just say that this may be a sequel to The Godfather, but for it just to be known as The Godfather’s little brother would be a serious injustice. The Godfather Part II has enough to be a film in its own entirety, but seeing as it is, officially, a sequel, let’s just say that it is the best follow-up to a film to ever have been made.
Once again, the performances were amazing. Pacino as the ruthless Michael gave just as intense a performance – perhaps even more so – as he did in the first film. There was something about the way he played Michael that gave him a real unpredictability. Generally, he was very mild mannered, but if he was pushed far enough, Michael made people sorry they had ever existed. The thing that did it for me was the way Pacino would just walk into a room, pull up a chair and sit there with his legs crossed, leaning back all relaxed with his head resting on his hand. There was something about him sitting in that position that terrified me. It just looked as though he was constantly thinking of horrible ways to kill people. But the way he sat was also the customary seated position that all fictional TV therapists adopt, therefore Michael always seemed to be open for those he was talking to to confide in him, thus revealing all their secrets and anything about any plots against the Corleones. Needless to say Michael was a very clever character who definitely took the saying, ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’,very seriously.
It was also in this film that Robert De Niro won his first Oscar as the young Vito Corleone. Fair play to De Niro as his role involved him speaking most of his lines in Italian. I mean, I’d imagine joining something as ground-breaking as this would’ve been daunting enough without having to say nearly all of your lines in a foreign language. Take it from me; I’ve recently just completed a GCSE in French and the oral examinations for that were terrifying, so speaking all of your dialogue in Italian in what is the biggest film trilogy of all time doesn’t really bare thinking about for me. Still De Niro grabbed the role by the short and curlies and absolutely nailed it. He really showed the qualities portrayed by Marlon Brando as the more mature Vito in the first film, and I believe it was those two things that won De Niro the Academy Award.
Second time round and we still have the collaboration of Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo devising the screenplay. I still stick by the idea that it was a very good decision allowing Puzo’s input as it kept the intentions of the saga’s author as the basis for the film and the characters.
So, yet again, I’m going to order you to watch this film. It is as good as the first, plus you know you want to see what happened to the Corleone empire after Michael flexed his muscles at the end of the first film.