Killer's Choice

The film begins with a trumpet solo that sets off sad, comic, and heroic vibrations. You may doubt a movie could live up to the music and create a resounding mixture of its own. But as the brass flourish turns into a waltz, Coppola and his co-adapter, Puzo, set inexorable dramatic rhymes to it. Courtship strolls and wedding scenes, church rituals and ritual murders, match up and enter into a brew that's heady, true, and devastatingly shocking. Part of the black magic of The Godfather is the way it depicts how Catholicism operates in the Corleones' world -- as salvation and cover for evil. When Coppola intercuts a christening with a mass assassination, The Godfather brings us into the worldview of the wicked, where there is no God (only Godfathers), and the men who rule in his stead camouflage brutality with the rites of church and family.

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