In the final instalment of The Godfather Trilogy, ageing don Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is trying to legitimise his business dealings in New York and Italy, whilst also making plans for his exit from the violent world he has grown too old to contend in . He takes on a protégé in the form of his late brother’s love child, Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia), who informs him of a hungrier gangster seeking to topple the Corleone empire. Michael must deal with all this, plus his successor’s love for his daughter, whilst simultaneously limiting the damage caused to the rest of his family and associates.
First of all, let me just say I didn’t think that, on its own, The Godfather Part III was as good a film as the other two were, however alongside its predecessors, it does make for a wonderful ending to the legendary saga. No, it doesn’t quite have the legs to stand on its own two feet up against Parts I and II, but I feel as though it had to be done to bring closure to the whole tale surrounding the Corleone family and business. If The Godfather Part III had not have been made, everyone who watched the first two films would have been left with the very open-ended matter of what exactly became of Michael and his family. For those of you who have seen the trilogy, don’t even lie and say you were left completely satisfied by the ending to Part II, because I know you weren’t! You needed something more. And I believe Part III fully delivered, even if, sadly, it has been overlooked by many.
The one thing that no one can fault about these films is the quality of the performances. Whilst many people may say that the plot standard dropped with this film, no one can say the acting was any inferior. This saw Pacino reprise his role of Michael Corleone despite 16 years having passed since he last made an appearance as the don. The final third of the trilogy is set in 1979, the best part of twenty years on from when we last saw him. With this in mind, you’d have thought perhaps he might have mellowed a bit with age. On the face of it, you might believe this to be true – after all, Michael is looking for a way out of the rough world in which he has lived for so long. But he still sits in that position, and he still has the deadpan facial expression that I’ll admit makes me unsure of the sort of mindset he is in. One thing is for sure, throughout the three films, Pacino has never missed the mark when it came to playing Michael.
The Godfather Part III introduced Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini. He was Michael’s nephew who, seeing as Michael’s son wanted nothing to do with the family business, looked to take over after Michael. As he was Sonny Corleone’s son, Garcia had to try and recreate the same fiery temper displayed by James Caan in the first film so, basically, he had a hard act to follow. However, I can’t fault the performance he gave, so I guess really its just another job well done.
Overall, despite not quite matching the previous chapters, I still highly recommend that you see The Godfather Part III. It rounds the trilogy off very nicely and I strongly believe it deserves more credit than many give it.