The Offer (2022) Episode 4: Review, Recap & Ending Explained: The story of Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo’s The Godfather (1972) is one as old as time. But as we spout its lines, cosplay as its characters, and watch other directors “pay homage” to it all the time, we forget what it took actually to put The Godfather on the big screen. There are rumors about it. A book called The Making of the Godfather by Mario Puzo chronicles his rise as a star. However, while Puzo, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Marlon Brando, Taila Shire, and John Cazale are household names to date, there’s little-to-no-mention about producer Albert. S. Ruddy. With the first three episodes, Dexter Fletcher’s The Offer (2022) managed to the lengths he went to, the risks he took, and the personal losses he incurred even to convince Paramount Pictures to make The Godfather. Episode 4 is here to take us further into its tumultuous production.
The Offer Episode 4 (Spoiler-Free) Review:
Directed by Adam Arkin and written by Michael Tolkin, Leslie Greif, and Nikki Toscano, episode 4 of The Offer doubles down on the portrayal of Albert S. Ruddy’s persistence. Again, a case can be made if you get a different point of view about Ruddy’s work and how much he backed his director and writer. But, even if it’s all fictionalized and Ruddy wasn’t at all like he’s shown in the mini-series, at least it’s an example of how bosses should be. Every person in the room won’t understand what it takes to make art profitable and will probably take the credit for it when said art becomes profitable. But until that point arrives, a boss should act like Ruddy and give their employees what they need. Now, yes, this angle of telling Ruddy’s story does skirt the line between glorifying the act of ignoring one’s mental health and relationships for the sake of their work and not condoning such behavior. Eventually, Arkin, Tolkin, Greif, and Toscano highlight the man inside Ruddy and asks the audience to decide what they’re comfortable with.
Related to The Offer Episode 4: Recap of Episode 1, 2 and 3
From a technical point of view, The Offer genuinely looks and sounds fantastic. Cinematographer Salvatore Totino, editor Matt Barber, production designer Laurence Bennett, art director Jann K. Engel, and the entire sound design, set decoration, and makeup department teams have done a splendid job of immersing the audience in Hollywood in the ’70s while giving that lived-in feeling to it. Since the narrative keeps shifting between the business side of things, the artistic side of things, and the mafia side of things, the technical departments have to assign distinct looks to all of them to don’t start to blend together. Well, at least they don’t have to because there are points in the story where the business mixes with the mafia and the art mixes with the business; you get the gist. But yes, until then, every sector has a recognizable color palette, costume, lighting, and even sound design to let the audience know where the scene is taking place.
Matthew Goode as Robert Evans is a work of art. There’s plenty that he does that you can look and marvel at. The rhythm in which he speaks. The way he carries himself. And his outbursts are so entertaining that you’ll wish that his vocal cords are unharmed so that he does it repeatedly. All that said, the best acting moment from Goode in episode 4 is when he makes a little purring sound of disapproval and realization that he has walked into a trap set by Ruddy. That is only accentuated by the lighting change that makes the shadow from his glasses look like an exaggerated frown on his forehead. It’s a very small moment, but it’s excellent. Everyone from Miles Teller to Giovanni Ribisi is consistently superb. However, as expected (or probably unexpectedly, depending on what you think of The Offer), it’s Justin Chambers as Brando who steals the spotlight. And it’s particularly commendable because he’s disappearing into Brando while making Brando disappear into Don Corleone, which is simply mind-blowing.
Spoiler warning: From this point onward, this article contains significant spoilers for The Offer Episode 4.
The Offer Episode 4 Recap:
The episode opens after the premiere of Ali Macgraw’s (Meredith Garretson) Love Story (1970), where Ruddy (Miles Teller) and Francoise (Nora Arnezeder) are having a spat about attending it. Francoise thinks they were treated like they weren’t even invited to it. Ruddy thinks that that’s how things go, and a producer has to attend events like that to get anywhere. Things escalate to such a level that they resort to personal blows. The following day, Evans enters his favorite bar/restaurant to a lot of applause. While talking to Ruddy, Evans brings up the topic of Ruddy bringing a “the movies I’m producing are not good” vibe to the premiere and tells him not to repeat that mistake again. Ruddy says that he, the director, and the writer want Brando (Justin Chambers) as the Don and Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) as Michael. As always, Evans advises against it.
Ruddy, Bettye (Juno Temple), Puzo (Patrick Gallo), and Coppola (Dan Fogler) meet up with Marlon Brando. And Brando absolutely mesmerizes all of them with his makeshift transformation into Don Corleone. Coppola reminds Ruddy about putting Pacino and Brando in the same frame, and Ruddy says that he’s still working on it. Bettye asks if Pacino is even a possibility, and Ruddy says that it isn’t, but he will try anyway. During a Times interview with Frank Sinatra (Frank John Hughes), Sinatra hijacks the conversation and directs it towards Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi) and the Italian-American Civil Rights League, mainly because Colombo didn’t shut down the making of The Godfather. Instead, Colombo befriended Ruddy and ensured that the movie saw the light of the day. Ruddy and Francoise go to therapy, and Ruddy admits that he doesn’t want to produce movies with Francoise. He wants to do it on his own, and that breaks Francoise.
In Harlem, Joe Gallo (Joseph Russo) and Nicky Barnes (Derrick Baskin) get a visit from Colombo’s men, Gino (James Madio) and Lenny (Lou Ferrigno). Lenny forwards Gallo the $1000 Colombo has sent him. He gives it back and tells him he is permanently out of Colombo’s family and is now with Barnes. And Gallo says that if they don’t get out of the bar, they’re standing in, he will send their heads to Colombo in a box. So, Lenny and Gino leave. At the Paramount Pictures lot, Gianni Russo (Branden Williams) pays Bettye a visit and expresses his interest to play in The Godfather while hilariously repeating “hand to god” before every statement. Bettye rubbishes him. Then Bettye, Ruddy, and Andrea (Stephanie Koenig) start talking about casting, literally anyone because at this point, no one has been cast, officially. Ruddy recommends Gianni to Francis, though.
Colombo is angry about Sinatra bad-mouthing him and the Italian-American Civil Rights League. Lenny and Gino return to let Colombo know that the meeting with Gallo didn’t go down well and that Gallo feels insulted. Colombo says that was his intention, and now he’s going to wait for Gallo to do something drastic so that he can get the go-ahead from the Committee to take him out. Evans and Ali’s intimate moment is sidelined by Evans trying to pitch the role of Don Corleone to Jack Nicholson. Coppola ambushes Bluhdorn (Burn Gorman) in an elevator while Evans, Ruddy, Bettye, Andrea, and Peter (Josh Zuckerman) sit down for yet another test screening. Before running the tape, Bluhdorn calls in, and Evans senses (with a grunt) that Ruddy has bypassed him. Charles and Robert agree that they should rope in Brando for the role of Don. But Robert warns Ruddy to never go around him again to get something done.
Bluhdorn learns about Congressman Mario’s (Danny Nucci) statement of disapproval of The Godfather and the kind of public resentment that Sinatra is creating against the movie. Evans meets up with Brando to talk shop. Evans thinks he has the upper hand in the conversation, but Brando throws him a curveball by pitching Pacino for Michael. Evans calls up Ruddy at The Godfather’s production office and tells him that he has failed to convince Brando to work on a budget. So, now it’s Ruddy’s job to do the same. Ruddy plays hardball with Brando’s agent, pretending that he’s ready to give the role of the Don to somebody else if Brando doesn’t want to work on a budget. And he seals the deal. That win is short-lived; Ruddy receives a warning that since Gallo is planning to attack Joe Colombo, there’s a chance that he’ll come for Ruddy too and take over his movie. Ruddy gets another metaphorical punch in the form of Francoise leaving him.
The Offer Episode 4 Ending Explained:
Ruddy and Bettye have an emotional chat about relationships and movies and how Ruddy is choosing The Godfather over Francoise. The following day, Colombo visits Ruddy at The Godfather’s production office. Colombo is essentially there to “double down” on his support for The Godfather because he knows that his enemies will come for it. Colombo says that Sinatra is still a problem for both of them, and Ruddy’s solution is that he can reduce Johnny Fontaine’s (the character that Sinatra thinks is modeled after him) screentime. Colombo says that he will let Sinatra know about that so that he can chill the hell out. As soon as Colombo leaves, another problem arises in the form of losing the house where the movie is supposed to be shot. Colombo overhears that but doesn’t say anything. Ruddy is told he has a meeting with Bluhdorn, Lapidus (Colin Hanks), and Ballard (Paul McCrane)
Also Read: The Godfather Paradox
Lapidus uses the lousy press around The Godfather as an excuse to make Ballard co-producer and tail Ruddy throughout the movie’s production. Ruddy refuses. Evans backs Ruddy. So, Ballard doesn’t get to come along. Ruddy has a mini-celebratory dinner with Puzo, Coppola, Bettye, and Andrea. Coppola gives a very sordid speech, and Ruddy follows up with him only to know that Coppola is sad because they don’t have Al Pacino in the movie. Ruddy tells Bettye to set up a meeting with Bluhdorn. Before Bettye can adequately respond to that request, they see that Gino and Caesar (Jake Cannavale) are there to take Ruddy to a place where the house owner that The Godfather is supposed to be shot in is held, hostage. Ruddy is understandably horrified. Ruddy silently sees Colombo scare the owner till the man literally soils himself and agrees to let Ruddy shoot in his estate. That’s when Ruddy gets an idea of what Colombo is.
Ruddy meets up with Charlie to tell him that he wants Pacino as Michael, and he wants Bluhdorn to side with Francis. Bluhdorn warns him and says that he will break his promise to Evans about going around him. Ruddy says that it’s all worth it. Bluhdorn agrees to put Pacino in the movie. Evans calls and scolds the hell out of Ruddy for getting Pacino in. Evans says that he now wants James Caan as Sonny in exchange for this casting. Coppola says that he has already agreed to put Carmine Caridi in that role. Evans shouts at Coppola to undo that, put Caan in it, and hangs up. When Ruddy tells Pacino that he’s Michael, Pacino says that he has already signed a project with MGM and walks out of it. At their lowest, Ruddy gets intimate with Andrea and takes a walk down the lane that’s the spot for prostitutes and theaters featuring nude films. He catches a reflection of himself, staring at what he’s doing.