I am convinced that The Godfather could have been a more profound film if Coppola had shown more interest (and perhaps more courage) in those sections of the book which treated crime as an extension of capitalism and as the sine qua non of showbiz.
The key of the brilliant comic tone of the film is in the title. What makes the picture so funny, terrifying and horribly believable is that everyone in the film really has learned to stop worrying, as smokers do about lung cancer after living with the statistics for a bit.
What is particularly striking about the film, once we get over the sight of Marlon Brando performing anal sex, is that it is, in disguise, the most political of Bertolucci’s films so far—his most ambitious attempt to integrate Marx and Freud.
Last Tango in Paris is an important film because of the way it deals with film history. By showing the inadequacy of and parodying two recent influential film styles, 1950s Hollywood and French New Wave, Bertolucci critiques and condemns the outmoded ideas and attitudes which informed these styles.
In this review of Last Tango in Paris, Norman Mailer offers an extensive critique of Bertolucci’s film on the basis of Marlon Brando’s compromised acting.
“To me, making a film is like resolving conflicts between light and dark, cold and warmth, blue and orange or other contrasting colors. There should be a sense of energy, or change of movement. A sense that time is going on — light becomes night, which reverts to morning. Life becomes death."
Sarah Silverman is subtle, provocative, and disturbing. Her guileless, deadpan parody of profane ideas is like a naive child faithfully repeating something horrifying that she overheard her parents whisper.