Monday, February 13, 2012

The Most Interesting Character...

The Godfather is my favorite movie, and it is a film that has long stood the test of time.  Many people have favorite characters, and I would have to say that my favorite is Don Vito Corleone.  However, in my humble and (nearly worthless) opinion, the most interesting character is Santino 'Sonny' Corleone.  That's probably an odd choice for most people, but hear me out...

Sonny is by far the most flawed character, prone to outbursts of anger and passion and saying the first thing that comes to his mind.  In an indirect way, he is responsible for his brother Michael becoming the cold and ruthlessly efficient character.  Consider the following:

1) Sonny nearly cost his father his life because he couldn't keep his mouth shut when they met with drug runner Virgil Sollozzo.  Sollozzo sensed Sonny's enthusiasm for getting into the drug game and decided to knock off Don Vito.  Vito survived, but only after Michael had to fake being a button man at the hospital. 

2) Michael got punched out by Captain McCluskey and then was mocked by Sonny when he suggested that he take out Sollozzo and McCluskey.  Michael does so and has to run away to Italy.  

3) Sonny's temper and over-protectiveness toward his sister Connie cost him his own life as he was wantonly wasted at the toll booth on the causeway.  That news, plus Michael witnessing his wife being murdered, turned him into a vengeful and cold Don - a character that would ever descend into the depths of hell over the next decade.

Why?  Simply because Sonny let his reason get clouded by emotion.

He was a character who also let his hormones do his thinking - there were a couple of scenes that showed him with his mistress Lucy, but there was never a doubt that he also loved his family, even if he was not in control of his emotions, temper, or libido.  For the first 90-100 minutes of the film, Sonny Corleone is the engine that drives it.  Vito is the focal point and Michael becomes the focal point, but Sonny is the glue between the two. 

There are four sons of Vito (if you include Tom Hagen) and you have four distinct personalities.  Hagen is really the only one who does not have a misplaced role, although it can be argued that as a 'Kraut-Mick' (according to Jack Woltz), he is horrendously misplaced in a Sicilian operation.  Fredo should never have been given a position of authority; Michael grudgingly took on the family business as a tribute to his father; Sonny was the only one who truly wanted the mob lifestyle, but could not handle being the Don, and it got him killed.  

However, without him, The Godfather is not the same story, and not the same film.  Sonny Corleone is the filler and cohesive that holds it all together.  Now, I am sure many will dispute this, but this is just one man's take on why Sonny is the most fascinating and interesting character.

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