Sunday, February 14, 2010

Godfather Blogging

So the Godfather is on.

Every time I watch it, I ask myself the same question: What is Michael Corleone's breaking point? At what moment does he make the spiritual transformation from idealistic war hero who doesn't want anything to do with the family business to "the don"?

I think there are arguments that could be made for nine ten moments:

-- When he kills Sollozzo and McCulskey in the restaurant.
-- When Sonny dies.
-- When Appolonia dies in the car bomb.
-- When he returns to America (and asks Kay to marry him).
-- When he takes over the family after Don Vito's semi-retirement.
-- When he orders the assassinations of Moe Green et al, during his nephew's baptism.
-- When he kills Carlo (foreshadowing Fredo's murder as the first intra-family killing).
-- When he lies to Kay about killing Carlo.
-- When the door closes on Kay at the very end.

The entire movie is, in one respect, about Micheal's fall from grace. I'm reluctant to say there is one moment of truth, as it were, that marks where the good Michael ends and the bad Michael begins, but I do think there is a point of no return where Michael acknowledges who he is and gives in to his fate.

For my money, I think this moment doesn't actually occur on screen. Right after Appolonia is car-bombed, Micheal finds Kay to ask her to marry him. She asks him how long he has been back and replies "over a year." Michael is dressed conspicuously different in this scene that he has been throughout the film. He's wearing black, head to toe, and a hat that makes him look more like a gangster. I'm fairly certain that Michael officially crosses over to the Dark Side during that missing year.

I'll probably end up watching it again next weekend and thinking something completely different.

MORE: I completely forgot a tenth moment: when Don Vito dies. In so many ways Vito was the only thing keeping Michael from unleashing his inner demons.


Godbother Flogging said...

Hmm. maybe there isn't ONE thing, one event. That's kinda dualistic thinking (which of course "Hollywood" does all the time)
Maybe it's ALL those moments you listed - and many more.
Who really has one simple defining moment? (one dimensional people?)
But isn't it all a series of steps, a gradual erosion? one seemingly insignificant decision after another, that then reach a critical mass?

maybe the film is a portrait of the mechanisms of denial. That Michael never WASN'T "dark". His revulsion over his "destiny" was all just an emo-tastic post-adolecsnt show staged for his own benefit.
"I'm so much better than this"
So that he shielded true awareness of himself from himself (and of course The Girl), and it wasn't really his character, but instead was his conscience that eroded to a point were he could allow his left hand to know what his right hand was doing. Maybe it was all about self-acceptance and no actual transformation ever took place. He always was who he was, he just needed Life to hand him a nice package of justifications that freed him from personal conflict. Lol kinda like Bush deciding we needed to war on Iraq and then looking for justifications for it later.

this reminds me of the whole Blagojevich thing too. So much flap over his "sudden" evilness. Bullshit. I'm sure there are dozens/hundreds of people over the years who saw 'bad things' but made excuses in their minds and thought up expediency-type reasons for looking the other way, so they could dismiss nagging feelings that Blagojevich was trouble. It's not like that fucker just snapped the second Obama's job went vacant.

But XDDD I never actually watched the film. I hear that theme music and have an instant "you gotta be f-ing kidding me" feeling and I'm outta there.

Jb said...

That's clearly the point of the movie, and likely the reason why there are so many moments in the film that define Micheal's.

But the question isn't about an epiphany or a Eureka moment that defines Micheal's villainy. I'm not talking about a instance like Bruce Wayne seeing his parents killed.

Micheal's character arc is on a continuous downward trajectory from the moment we first meet him. For much of the movie there is still hope for redemption in Micheal, but at some point during Micheal's story he either makes a conscious decision to become Don or at least or has Don-hood spiritually thrust on him.

Godbother 2 said...

Hmm. okay
Well then if it's a case of spiritual thrusting O_o

I see you have other posts re: this topic so I'll go rad them and see if I have an epiphanies myself