The Many Saints of Newark

#Review: The Many Saints of Newark

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The Sopranos is a cultural icon. The television series ran for several years and James Gandolfini cemented himself in television history with his portrayal of Tony Soprano. Now 22 years later after its debut, audiences get to see a new chapter of this infamous family in The Many Saints of Newark.

The Many Saints of Newark follows a character in The Sopranos history fans have only heard about. This character is Dickie Moltisanti played by Alessandro Nivola. Dickie is the man who a young Tony (played by Gandolfini’s son Michael Gandolfini) idolises. He is one of the most powerful men in the family and he is quite the character, full of passion, full of determination and at times full of rage.

Dickie is shown to be an inspirational figure in young Tony’s life. He is admired by almost everyone from Tony’s father and mother to all the other people in his orbit. Nivola brings a magnetic energy to Dickie. He’s a man who is quite complex. He has a tense relationship with his father (Ray Liotta) and an even more intense relationship with his father’s new young wife (Michela De Rossi).

I speak of Dickie because he is the main protagonist of the film. He is also one of the few original characters in this film. The majority of the characters are younger versions of already established figures in The Sopranos universe. From my limited knowledge, all the characters from the series appear in this film. They are younger, more dangerous and in my opinion are pretty interesting characters, if a bit cartoonish at times.

The Many Saints of Newark

The Many Saints of Newark – Woke up this morning

I should state at this point I have never watched an episode of The Sopranos so going into The Many Saints of Newark I had no expectations. When coming out of it I was impressed. It comes from the fact that I was thoroughly impressed by the character of Dickie. Who Nivola brings to intense life. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast are in something of an impersonation game. Some rise to the occasion, Vera Farmiga is a particular delight playing a young Livia Soprano. Her subplot with Tony is engaging and surprisingly emotional. Others however feel like they are caricatures of the characters they are playing. For example, John Magaro plays a young Silvio Dante and honestly, he feels silly. He plays the young Dante over the top and it felt amateurish in my opinion.

The plot of the film is about Dickie and his impact on the family and though the film succeeds at showing that I couldn’t help but feel why we needed to see this. Ultimately I would say this is a piece of lore that fans will enjoy as it does add a new layer to several characters and allows longtime fans to fall back into that world again. As an uninitiated, I enjoyed The Many Saints of Newark even if it felt like a lot of other wise guy films out there.

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