The Many Saints of Newark: A Sopranos Story
review by Bobby Blakey
When The Sopranos hit HBO in 1999 it took the world and HBO by storm running for 6 seasons before ending in 2007. Widely regarded as the greatest television series of all time fans were divided on the ending and talks of a movie began to pop up. Now we are finally getting to return to this crime ridden world we love with the feature The Many Saints of Newark: A Sopranos Story. The film stars Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, Michela De Rossi, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, Vera Farmiga and the late James Ganolfini’s real life son Michael Gandolfini taking on the role of the young Tony Soprano.
The Many Saints of Newark follows a young Anthony "Tony" Soprano as he grows up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. Like many I loved the Sopranos right until the very end. I was never as upset about how they ended it as some people were, but have been eagerly looking forward to something more from the franchise. To say I was looking forward to this film is an understatement, so was it worth it? Very much so, but it’s not without its flaws.
The story delivers everything I could have wanted complete with a who’s who of the younger versions of the characters we know and love. Obviously they have all been recast so its kind of funny at times since these actors had to mimic a lot of what the original cast created. Some of the make-up and mannerisms just felt off at times, but for me it wasn’t because they were bad just knowing what they were trying to be.
I think everyone did a great job with Gandolfini doing his father justice as the teen Tony. Believe it or not while this is a look into what brought Tony into the life and his struggles this film is really more about Dickie Moltisanti played to sinister brilliance by Alessandro Nivola. He brings so many layers to the role that really affects everything around him and the
world we already knew. Original Christopher Moltisanti, Michael Imperioli returns to narrate as well giving it further familiarity to the fans.
Michael Gandolfini does a great job with the role really capturing the essence of his dad, but surprised he didn’t get near as much more to do. The film is more focused on the history set-up and plays out more like a long episode than really a feature film and this is where it stumbled for me. I think this would have played out way better as a new series to allow it to really delve into the varying stories they bring to light and leading to the original series.
This is not a bad thing though as it leaves some unanswered questions and is engaging enough that you want more, but the issue is there isn’t more at the moment. I am hoping this will either spawn a new series of films or TV series to let us stay on the path with this time to lead up to the show we love because there is so much more there to show us. Thankfully all 6 seasons of the series are on HBO MAX so time to dive back in again.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted scenes, featurettes and more. Grab your copy of The Many Saints of Newark available now digital and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on December 21st from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.