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THE OFFER (2022)

Series Review

Limited Series (Episodes 1 - 3)

Aired On: Paramount+
Release Date: 04/28/22
Biography. Drama.


"Oscar-winning producer Albert S. Ruddy's never-before-revealed experiences of making The Godfather (1972)."


Ted Lasso star Brett Goldstein (or Roy Kent, as you may know him by), asks his guests a question on the film-centric podcast, 'Films to be Buried With': what is objectively the greatest film ever made? Almost 200 episodes into his podcast, one of his only rules with this question is that the answer cannot be The Godfather, simply because it’s been said so many times before. If you look in any top 10, 100 or 1000 movies of all-time list, it’s a rare occurrence that Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972s The Godfather is excluded. A critically-acclaimed, audience-loved, timeless piece of cinema that has been viewed, enjoyed and studied to high-heaven over the last 50 years, the story of Mario Puzo’s novel-turned-film was not an easy feat to get on the screen. And in Paramount+’s new limited series, The Offer, the dramatised account from the perspective of The Godfather’s producer, Albert S. Ruddy, showcases the tumultuous, and often dangerous, journey that was taken to get the greatest film of all time made.


Starting in the late 1960s, author Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo) is almost at his wits end in regards to his fading writing career. That is until inspiration strikes for a mafia story that focuses on family and the immigrant experience, rather than the violence and crime that gangster stories were well known for. Creating a best-seller about the mafia, unfortunately for Puzo, frustrated and annoyed the group of people he was writing about, the Italian-American community. The novel 'The Godfather' particularly concerns upcoming mob-boss and revered leader of the Italian-American community in New York, Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi), who doesn’t take kindly to the fact his people are being portrayed by Puzo as violent, inhumane crooks.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the United States, in Los Angeles, an incredibly intelligent, but unsatisfied data analyst by the name of Albert S. Ruddy (Miles Teller) is given the opportunity of a lifetime by a friend who is a television writer. Shooting to immediate success after Ruddy and his friend create Hogan’s Heroes, Ruddy’s driven tenacity finds him at Paramount Pictures, convincing the head of development, Robert Evans (Matthew Goode), to let Ruddy produce a movie. With Paramount dealing with a string of box office failures and nothing else on the horizon, Evans dumps Ruddy with the impossible task of bringing The Godfather to life.


For anyone who gets a kick out of the nitty gritty, behind-the-scenes of how Hollywood works, The Offer will definitely scratch that itch. Rip-starting its first episode with the pacing and energy of something like Goodfellas, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the exciting wheeling-and-dealing of the larger-than-life Hollywood magnates. However, it’s important to note that while The Offer is based on the never-before-told story of how The Godfather was made by the real Albert S. Ruddy, the show does feel like an exacerbated and over-dramatised version of the events, even when the true elements go to extreme levels.


The excitement of The Offer is on display through its vigorous pacing and the inside-baseball Easter eggs littered throughout. Right from Mario Puzo’s genesis of the novel, through its acquisition, screenplay adaptation and ultimate filming of the movie, The Offer feels like it just covers all aspects of the making of this film, sometimes with great excitement, and other times just scratching the surface. The show's pacing, editing and directing (with the first 3 episodes directed by Rocketman director, Dexter Fletcher) is relentless, which works for the engagement factor and occasionally shows its flaws when the story jumps from event to event without much explanation or subtext given. However, The Offer then redeems itself (especially for cinephiles) with the amount of name-drops and cameos before introducing the behemoths of The Godfather’s production with characters like Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) and Al Pacino (an uncanny valley performance from Anthony Ippolito). For the uninitiated (myself included) who were unaware of the parallel story occurring during The Godfather’s development involving Joe Colombo and the looming mafia threat over Ruddy and his production adds a thrilling and engaging crime aspect to the show that was unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyable, adding once again to that Goodfellas style of energy.


With The Offer circulating its focus on Ruddy, Miles Teller is a great anchor for the show, with a suave and cocksure performance where we get a fantastic look at how steady of a ship this man was, even in the most uncertain, life threatening situations he was in. And while the show is recounted from Ruddy’s perspective, and some elements maybe touched up here and there, he makes for an interesting and alternate perspective on the story. The supporting cast are all great in their own rights, with Giovanni Ribisi constantly intimidating as the powder-keg mob boss, Juno Temple as the asserting assistant and Dan Fogler as a commanding Francis Coppola, in arguably Fogler’s best work yet. However, the show's standout is the incessantly hilarious and quintessential 60s Hollywood producer, complete with the bronze tan, pearly white teeth and flashy suits, is Matthew Goode as Robert Evans. His opposing dynamic with Ruddy works as comedy gold and feels like an authentic portrayal of the old-timey movie producer who loves the lavish, party lifestyle.

Overall, The Offer doesn’t serve as an informative look at how The Godfather was made, even with its abundance of Easter eggs and name-drops that movie fans will love. Instead, it’s a fast-paced and incredibly entertaining look behind-the-scenes of how Hollywood went up against the mafia to make the greatest film of all time, even when no one then thought it would be!

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