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The Godfather: Mafia Murder, True to Form

            In The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola uses a distinct pattern in order to convey death or violence. This technique proves to be effective in all situations, building tension, and also allowing the reader to predict future displays of violence before they occur. Coppola’s model utilizes several film elements, combining them in a creative and tension-building manner, in order to thrill the audience.
             In the restaurant scene, one of the most famous sequences in gangster movies, Michael Corleone murders Sollozzo and Captain McKluskey at a restaurant meeting. In the restaurant, Coppola uses point of view focalization on Micheal. Low key lighting and nondiegetic music are used, creating a dark atmosphere, and indicating the possible onset of violence in the scene. The restaurant is also very quiet, a device that Coppola uses to suggest approaching hostility. Michael’s conversation with Sollozzo begins in Italian, and there are NO SUBTITLES. This characteristic indicates that Michael knows Italian, and that the scene is portrayed from his perspective. .
             During the conversation, Coppola employs shot/counter shot editing and neutral focalization, implying that it is the dialogue and character behaviors that are most important in the scene. Michael’s face is constantly shown, displaying his cold, angry stare at Sollozzo. Sollozzo, unable to deal with Michael’s gaze, looks around instead, talking to Captain McKluskey. Similar to Coppola’s previous presentations of violence, the killer is distinguished from the victim or victims, and the tension slowly builds throughout the scene.
             Suddenly, Michael begins to talk in English, contrasting from the initial Italian conversation, and implying that his message is very important. He tells Sollozzo that he wants a guarantee that his father will not be harmed again. It is clear from both Sollozzo’s and Michael’s character behaviors that Sollozzo will not agree with the deal.