The Many Saints of Newark Review: The Sopranos Prequel Has Cement Shoes

Directed by a serial veteran in Taylor, The Many Saints of Newark is more Average streets then Godfather. It has an independent, low budget feel. It opens in 1967, when the Summer of Love was disrupted by the Newark riots, and is largely divided between Italy’s North Ward and the Central Ward, which was home to mostly African-American working-class families. The riots themselves provide cover for the Italian gang robberies and let the main character get away with murder.

This is the story of the Mafia legend from the series, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola). The title comes from the name Moltisanti, which means “many saints” in Italian. However, Moltisanti is no saint, even though he spends the entire film on a good deed. But he’s also not the drug-addicted psychopath who made the series out of him. He only kills those he loves.

As Dickie, Nivola gives an extremely well-rounded performance. He is sometimes the sweetest person in the room and his kindness is natural and completely believable. He looks like he’s the only one with the mind to find a middle ground. But when he turns on his ‘Manson Lamps’, the anger and danger are palpable. Usually he has the dream job of an actor in which he internalizes every secret. Other times he telegraphs undeniably his intent. We know he’s going to make a play for his father’s young Italian wife, Guiseppina (Michela De Rossi), from the moment their eyes meet over dinner. Nivola also makes clear his conflicting feelings about young Tony. He wants to save the child, who he knows would be a natural in ‘this life’.

Tony is played as a boy by William Ludwig and as a teenager by Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late James Gandolfini. Michael captures his father’s mannerisms and physicality. His Tony is a rebellious criminal wannabe who dreams of playing in the NFL, and yes, we hear Junior’s comment that he doesn’t have the stuff to be a varsity athlete. We also get a whiff of psychiatry in the form of a counselor who thinks the young Tony has leadership qualities. Both actors playing the young Tony bring a sense of uncertainty to the roles. Michael Gandolfini’s Tony is really ambiguous. He actively looks like he’s trying to be good, but has nothing to base it on. When he and his friends find a Mr. Stealing Softee ice cream truck, he doesn’t even try to take advantage of it. He hands out free skittles to some kids in a park

The Many Saints of Newark Tony Soprano doesn’t explain. It does not show how he became the boss of the family. He even renounces organized crime in its entirety during an embarrassing scene that would have been more suited to his son’s character, AJ, in the series. sopranos fans can put up with mania, depression and panic attacks from the boy who would become the head of the Di Meo family, but not a hissing attack.

In a subliminal nod to the series, Ray Liotta fulfills the same function as Patsy and Philly Parisi in the series. He plays Dickie’s father Aldo “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti and his father’s twin brother, who is in prison for beating a made man. Now he keeps it to himself, listening to Miles Davis and giving Zen advice. “Pain comes from always wanting things,” he says. But what does he know? He is a murderer.

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