Reviews Of Four Classic Films: The Godfather, The Lion King, The Matrix & Law Abiding Citizen

If there is one thing all of these films have in common, it is that not only are they brilliant films, they all have deeper, internal meanings.

The Godfather

The Godfather is more than just a film, it’s a brand. Finding somebody who hasn’t heard of the film would be a rare spectacle, and would probably because they have lived in isolation for the past 40 years. The Godfather, 1972, is about an aging patriarch who wants to transfer the authority of his covert dynasty to his son. Packed with house hold names such as: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film is probably the most widely imitated and quoted movies of all time.

The Corleone clan become caught up in a bloody gang war, fulled by betrayal and assasination attempts, which ultimately ends in Michael – once fully groomed – becoming the new don, taking over from his father Vito. The film portrays how a respected war hero and lawyer (Al Pacino) completes his moral downfall by being sucked into a life of violence and murder.

The film offers you a nuanced masterpiece which not only is saturated with classic lines like: ‘I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse’, but unfolds something new upon every re-watch.

The Lion King

I think I have only come across one person in my life who hasn’t seen the Lion King. If you haven’t seen it, you really owe it yourself. Despite the fact that it is a Disney animation – but probably Disney’s greatest ever work – it can, and should, be watched by those of all ages. The story is of a young cub, Simba, who is heir to his father’s throne, but when his nefarious uncle (Scar) murders his father (Mufasa), he runs of feeling guilty. He unites with two bubbly and humorous characters, Timon and Pumba, a Meerkat and a Warthog respectively, and enjoys a care-free youthful existence in the wild jungle, incognizant to the fact that his uncle Scar is ruling the Kingdom with an iron fist.

When Simba one day sees his father’s spirit in the heavens, instructing him to return home to re-claim his rightful throne, he leaves and defeats his dictator of an uncle. The story incorporates elements from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ancient mythology and explores themes like good vs evil, guilt and redemption, the importance of courage and the inevitability of death.

The Matrix

What if everything you believed was a lie? This is the basis for the epic science-fiction classic The Matrix. The film explores the ideas of reality vs illusion, much like the platonic philosophy did, and asks whether we are actually unknowingly imprisoned.

Keano Reeves, who plays Thomas Anderson, is a computer hacker trapped in a dreamworld built by sinister machines to control human minds. Neo, Thomas Anderson’s alias ID, receives a message on his computer monitor one day reading: “Wake up Neo. The Matrix has you.” The idea of ‘waking up’ denotes that the matrix has people in a state of somnolent sleep who are blind to the truth.

Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, sees Neo as a messianic figure who can restore humanity’s freedom and so does Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Neo, however, is dubious and must face Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) to discern whether it’s true.

Law Abiding Citizen

Although this film came out only a few years ago, it is definitely worthy of the title ‘classic’. Don’t be put off by the beginning of the film if you’re watching it for the first time, it’s gruesome and seems unnecessary, but it actually sets the scene for the rest of the film. Gerard Butler, who plays the protagonist, sets out to seek revenge for the two psychopaths who molest his wife and kill his young daughter. After being told that they may never face justice, he decides himself to inflict the worst types of punishments on the criminals who have destroyed his life.

The film is cleverly written and has a twist that most people wouldn’t guess. The themes embedded within the film are synonymous with a lot of the problems we face in society. The idea that criminals do not face justice will be testified to by those families who have suffered at the hands of rape, murder or burglary. Furthermore, what happens to the psyche of a person when oppressors shatter their lives is explored. The best quote in the film has to be: “I’m gonna bring the whole ******* diseased, corrupt temple down on your head. It’s gonna be biblical.”

Omar Shahid

Follow me on Twitter: @omar_shahid

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