Francis Ford Coppola’s tragic and worthy (if uneven) conclusion to his Godfather trilogy (1990), which he wrote in collaboration with Mario Puzo, represents a certain moral improvement over its predecessors by refusing to celebrate and condemn violence and duplicity in the same breath, or at least to the same degree. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino at his best) seeks absolution for his past sins, and although a cardinal grants it at one point (in a powerful confession scene), the film itself refuses to. While some of the allegorical implications persist (crime equals capitalism, Mafia equals family, both equal America), the decline of America in a world market where both European money and the Vatican are made to seem as corrupt as the Corleones leads to an overall change of focus. The episodic construction yields a strong first and third act and a sagging middle, and one regrets the absence of Robert Duvall, whose character provided a crucial link between crime and business in the first two parts. With Andy Garcia, Sofia Coppola, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Joe Mantegna, Eli Wallach, Bridget Fonda, and George Hamilton.
The Godfather, Part III
R • 2 hours 42 min • 1990