MOVIE REVIEW – The Godfather burst into cinemas in 1972 and became an instant classic. Adapted from Mario Puzo’s novel, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, it was a fascinating look at the world of the Mafia. But did you know that making the film was not a smooth process? Paramount+’s new series, The Offer, tells the film’s story from producer Albert S. Ruddy’s point of view, from the struggle with the studio to negotiating with the actors to fending off real mob threats.
The Offer is a ten-part series that debuted on the Paramount+ streaming service in April 2022. The series is written by Michael Tolkin and Leslie Greif and directed by Dexter Fletcher. Miles Teller stars as Al Ruddy, the aspiring Hollywood producer who took on the role of The Godfather. The supporting cast includes well-known actors such as Matthew Goode, Juno Temple, Colin Hanks, Dan Fogler and Giovanni Ribisi. The series explores not only the behind-the-scenes of filmmaking, but also the Hollywood and Italian-American milieu of the early 1970s.
The producer’s hell
The protagonist of The Offer is Al Ruddy, who is looking for a bigger challenge after a successful TV series. When he is offered the chance to produce The Godfather, he doesn’t hesitate to accept. But he soon realises it won’t be a walk in the park. Paramount studio head Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) keeps pressuring him to cut the budget and change the script. And director Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) stubbornly sticks to his original ideas and actors. Ruddy not only has to deal with these, but also with the protests of the Italian-American community and the interference of the mafia.
The war of the stars
One of the most interesting parts of The Offer is the way it describes the casting and shooting of the film. You can see how Coppola fought with the studio to cast Marlon Brando in the lead role, who was by then a washed-up star. You can see how he found Al Pacino for the role of Michael Corleone, who was then unknown. We see how the chemistry developed between Robert De Niro and James Caan, who were competing for the roles of Sonny Corleone and the young Vito Corleone. We see how the filming took place in New York and Sicily, and the difficulties and dangers they faced. The series does a great job of recreating iconic scenes from the film, such as the horse-head bed and the famous highway murder.
In the shadow of the mafia
The Offer is not only a series about filmmaking, but also a mafia film. It shows how the Italian-American community and the real mafia tried to prevent The Godfather from being made. The biggest opponent is Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi), a Mafia leader who will not tolerate a film about his world. Colombo tries to influence the studio and the director to change the script and cast. He also threatens Ruddy and his family. Ruddy not only has to fight Colombo, but also another mobster, Joe Gallo (Lou Ferrigno), who turns against Colombo and starts a war against him. The series is a fascinating look at this background struggle, which had consequences for the making of The Godfather.
The price of success
The Offer finally gets to where we all expect it to go: the launch and huge success of The Godfather. We find out how critics and audiences received the film and how it won three Oscars. But that doesn’t mean everyone was happy. The story also shows the sacrifices Ruddy made for the film. He loses his wife (Juno Temple), with whom he had long had problems. He loses his friend and mentor (Colin Hanks), with whom he started his career. He loses faith in Coppola, with whom he fell out during post-production. He also loses his innocence when he realizes the price he has paid for a life in the mafia. The plot doesn’t miss the film’s aftermath, showing how The Godfather has influenced Italian-American culture and identity. At the end of the series, Ruddy explains why he didn’t want to be part of the film’s sequel and how he felt about the second and third parts.
The sin of length
The Offer tells the story of the making of The Godfather. The genre has potential, as filmmaking is an exciting process, and the world of Hollywood and the mafia is interesting. The production also has some strengths, such as great acting and stunning visuals. However, this ten-part series also becomes repetitive after a while due to its length.
The story, often a mouthful, is full of unnecessary asides and scenes that do not move the plot forward. Dialogue is often repetitive and fails to avoid clichés and templates. The characters often over-explain things and do not let the viewer make up the connections. Focus is lost and the series cannot decide what it wants to focus on most. One can sense that the makers have a little too much respect for film, and The Offer fails to find its own voice, which could have been much more powerful in a shorter and more concise structure, even in a film format.
The Offer is good but not unacceptable
By telling the story of the making of the film The Godfather, The Offer brings viewers closer to the world of Hollywood and the mafia, and the exciting process of filmmaking. The actors play the real and fictional characters brilliantly and the visuals are stunning.
However, this series does not reach the level of the film. It tries to show too much, and loses focus, and is somewhat wordy and repetitive, leaving no room for the viewer’s imagination and avoiding clichés. It also pays too much homage to the original film and therefore fails to find its own voice.
If you like The Godfather, you won’t regret accepting this offer, but it’s not as unmissable as the ones Don Vito Corleone used to give.