It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"The Godfather, Part III" continues the Corleone family history in 1979, as the sins of the parents are visited upon the children. Despite every attempt to go legit, to become respectable, the past cannot be silenced. The family has amassed unimaginable wealth, and as the film opens Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is being invested with a great honor by the church. Later that day, at a reception, his daughter announces a Corleone family gift to the church and the charities of Sicily, "a check in the amount of $100 million." But the Corleones are about to find, as others have throughout history, that you cannot buy forgiveness. Sure, you can do business with evil men inside the church, for all men are fallible and capable of sin. But God does not take payoffs.
Michael is older now and walks with a stoop. He has a diabetic condition. He has spent the years since "The Godfather, Part II" trying to move the family out of crime and into legitimate businesses. He has turned over a lot of the old family rackets to a new generation, to people like Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna), who is not scrupulous about dealing dope, who is capable of making deals that would offend the fastidious Michael. It is Michael's dream, now that he senses his life is coming to a close, that he can move his family into the light.
But the past is seductive. Because Michael knows how to run a Mafia family, there is great pressure on him to do so. And throughout "Godfather III" we are aware of the essential tragedy of this man, the fact that the sins that stain his soul will not wash off - especially the sin of having ordered the death of his brother Fredo.
Michael is positioned in the story between two characters who could come from "King Lear" - his daughter, Mary (Sofia Coppola), whom he loves and wants to give his kingdom to, and Sonny's son, Vincent (Andy Garcia), who sees the death of his enemies as the answer to every question. Michael is torn between the futures represented by the two characters, between Mary, quiet and naive, and the hot-blooded Vincent. And when Vincent seduces Mary and makes her his own, Michael's plans begin to go wrong.