Making evil into good: The Godfather
In the film saga elevating the Corleone crime family, I remember only one cop, a bent brutal mob-connected punk who Michael Corleone murders in a small restaurant.
Otherwise, nothing. Instead, we’re treated to “the life of an American family.” We never see their routine crimes. We never see how they’ve built their fortune and prestige. That’s on purpose.
Why show us reality? It would collapse the whole story. It would make us realize these Corleone men and their soldiers are just another bunch of low-life scumbags preying on innocent victims.
The “irony and tragic consequences” of Michael Corleone wiping out all the enemies surrounding him would be erased.
So instead, evil is made to look like good.
The audience sympathizes with the “Corleone heroes.” It roots for them. As they kill other criminals. As they kill betrayers within their own ranks.
The audience comes down on the side of the Corleones, in much the same way that many, many Americans came down on the side of Anthony Fauci.
The arrival of Godfather 1 on screens across America marked a sea change in the culture. The engraved premise was: “The men who control American society are evil; therefore, to work your way up in the economy, you have to commit your own crimes; they’re justified.”