The Offer, a 10-part not-so-mini series, presents the difficulties and struggles behind the production of one of the greatest films ever made, The Godfather. Available to watch on Voot Select in India, this Paramaount+ miniseries consists of each episode around an hour-long, making it a long watch. Created by Michael Tolkin of The Player fame and starring the likes of Miles Teller and Matthew Goode in leading roles, The Offer is an engrossing, if not a bit too much so, show and will not let you down.
– The Offer review does not contain spoilers –
The Godfather is a 1972 film based on the New York-based mafia boss, Don Vito Corleone. The plot revolves around Corleone’s assassination attempt and the subsequent downward spiral of his family into more violence and chaos. The youngest son, Michael, who did not want to be involved in his criminal family business, ends up becoming the new head of the Corleone family. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by author Mario Puzo.
Paramount Pictures, in the 70s, is a failing company with most of its films bombing at the box office, their last good film being Rosemary’s Baby. In comes Albert S. Ruddy, an unknown name in Hollywood who proposes to give Paramount their next blockbuster film. He is given a chance by the studio executive of Paramount, Robert Evans, who has films like Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (his last film) to his credit among others.
The Offer shows a broke Mario Puzo struggling to make a name in the literary circuit of New York. As soon as he writes The Godfather, it is bought by Paramount Pictures, who is in desperate need of a new film. As Ruddy meets Puzo, the idea of the film begins materialising and the director Francis Ford Coppola is soon involved. The Offer has, by the end of the 1st episode, establised that the main lead in Albert S. Ruddy, as we see him running around, doing his best to concretise the film and his place in the industry.
To the lovers of crime dramas, The Offer may seem like a crime procedural drama, where instead of solving crimes, people are trying to put together a film. Every step that Ruddy takes is met with opposition, be it the Italian mafia boss Joe Colombo who riles up the Italian American community against the novel due to its negative portrayal of Italians. Or the top boss of Paramount, who repeatedly remind them of their small budget, or the local politician who will not let the movie happen in New York, The Godfather’s primary setting.
The Offer: A rather self-congratulatory tale
One can dispute the accuracy of the facts portrayed in The Offer, as one of the producers of the miniseries is Albert S. Ruddy himself. So, it seems obvious why Ruddy’s role has made to be so pivotal in the miniseries. It is almost as if The Godfather was his dream alone and everyone else just happened due to his unrelenting desire to make the film a success. He is the hero, the man who fights the mafia, befriends them, fuels Puzo and Coppola and delivers all these main-character lines. While pitching the idea of The Godfather to the head of Paramount, he says “I am going to make an ice blue, terrifying film about the people you love.”
Meanwhile, Coppola and Puzo are shown as these frenzied but adorable artists who argue about who ate the sandwich and have debates over the cleanliness. A diabetic Puzo is helped by a visionary Coppola in turning his bestselling novel into a crisp script. Here, The Offer becomes more like a comedy, involving this comedic duo as artists who do not care about deadlines but just artistic expression. It’s fun to watch Dan Fogler as Coppola and Patrick Gallo as Puzo, as they fight for the creative expression against a low budget and tight schedule of Paramount.
The Offer is more of a celebratory and nostalgic looking back at the production process than an insight into the people involved. There are a lot of office meetings, phone calls, wives with no other role than supporting their husbands, secretaries who are clearly capable of more, an angry Frank Sinatra, the indignant mob boss Joe Colombo, and a lot of Ruddy.
In places, we also see the beauty of The Godfather reflected in the cinematography of The Offer, as mob bosses meet at diners and send “little gifts” as warnings. The actor who plays Al Pacino, Anthony Ippolito, has done a remarkable job of capturing his low voice and eager gestures of a young actor. Miles Teller as Albert S. Ruddy is riveting, as is Matthew Goode as a somewhat eccentric Robert Evans. June Temple as Bettye McCartt is very sharp and witty and looks like she could be somebody bigger than a secretary.
At its best, The Offer will keep your interest perked up in the story. At its worst, The Offer will make you wonder about the authenticity of it all, since Paramount, as its producer, has clearly got an upper hand in the path it has taken. It is more nostalgic than insightful, more procedural than entertaining. The writers could have done away with focusing so much on each and every detail so religiously. In the end, The Offer, well, will make you engrossed in its often meandering storyline and a slew of somewhat interesting, somewhat quirky, characters.
The Offer is available to watch on Voot Select.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.