The great Al Pacino as the cold blooded Michael Corleone.

The great Al Pacino as the cold blooded Michael Corleone.

In world cinema there are very few characters that remain permanently etched in the mind for its sheer “cold bloodedness” and, one such character is Michael Corleone from the great “GODFATHER” series directed by a master called Francis Ford Coppola and, enacted by a genius called Al Pacino.

Also, read Review of the classic Godfather-II

This intriguing character of Michael Corleone who is the youngest son of Don Corleone(Marlon Brando) who heads a mafia family first makes his appearance in the movie as young war hero who is not interested in being a part of his family business. It is at this time that Don Corleone is approached by Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo a drug tycoon with the support of rival family Tattaglias with direct orders from Don Emillio Barzini with an offer to enter the emerging drug business. Unfortunately for Sollozzo though the Don refuses to be a part of the business. This refusal results in Sollozzo with the support of Tattaglias and Don Barzini carrying out a failed assassination attempt on Don Corleone’s life. This failed attempted assassination on his father’s life is what draws Michael into the family business with a simple agenda of revenge on his mind. In the world of crime it is commonly quoted that “Revenge is a dish best served cold” and, this is exactly how Michael extracted revenge by killing Virgil Sollozzo and one of his accomplices a corrupt cop Captain McCluskey in cold blood in a restaurant at Bronx. This killing of Sollozzo and the corrupt cop is what gives birth to a new Michael a cold blooded and ruthless mafia boss and the head of the family.

One of most intriguing aspect of this character is the graph of his growth from a man who is disinterested in his family business and a war hero basically to a man so cold blooded that he  kills both his brother-in-law and his own older brother just to protect the family business against what he perceives as immediate threats and finally reaching a stage where he is trying to seek redemption. Also the fact that the character who on one hand agrees to become godfather (a relationship considered sacred in Christianity) to his sisters son and at the same time takes the life of the father reflects hypocrisy that has existed in human societies for many generations now.

Also interesting about Michael as a character is the relationship he shares with his wife Kay (played brilliantly by Diane Keaton) which certainly has an interesting graph of its own. While in the beginning Kay marries Michael on his promise of making his family business legitimate the relationship begins to slowly disintegrate as Michael begins to transform into pure evil which ultimately leads to divorce. What makes this relationship also interesting in context to Michael is the fact that though he is a cold blooded man it is obvious that he is genuinely in love with his wife even after the divorce which clearly shows that Michael as a character is a dual personality.

As for the performance by the great Al Pacino as Michael Corleone which is truly magnificent to say the least. The fact that Michael as a character is a complex and basically a dual personality and, yet Pacino portrays the character which such ease and raw realism and credit for that must go to his great ability as an actor. What is also so outstanding about his performance is the manner in which he conveys his cold bloodedness just through facial expression. For example the scene in Godfather part II where a guilt ridden elder brother Fredo (played by the great John Cazale) is conversing with Michael, Pacino by just one icy look on his face reveals that he knows that his brother is in some way is involved in the attack on his family which was  truly a piece of great acting and sign of a genuine artist at work. Also the famous conversation scene between Michael and his father Don Corleone is another outstanding piece of acting giving you the feeling of passing of the baton from the old to the new generation realistically and full credit to the artistry of Pacino as well the truly magnificent Brando. Also the dignity with which Pacino has played an ageing Michael looking for redemption from all his sins is true indicator of a truly magnificent actor who can be easily compared to a great painter at work. Overall Michael is truly one of world cinema’s all time great characters and, all credit must go to an artist  called “ AL PACINO” who has brought the complexities of the character on screen with the utmost of ease, great dignity, and burning intensity.

So with the character of Michael Corleone now eternally remembered as one of the greatest characters in world cinema one can only hope that actors such as Al Pacino who belong to a rare breed called “Artists”  continue to exist in the world of cinema for generations to come.

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In world cinema there are very few characters that remain permanently etched in the mind for its sheer “cold bloodedness” and, one such character is Michael Corleone from the great “GODFATHER” series directed by a master called Francis Ford Coppola and, enacted by a genius called Al Pacino. Also, read Review...