The Many Saints of Newark (15)
The Many Saints of Newark (15)
Director: Alan Taylor
Runtime: 120 minutes
Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Michael Gandolfini, Billy Magnussen, Michela De Rossi, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, Vera Farmiga, Gabriella Piazza
Synopsis: Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark, N.J., history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters start to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, whose influence over his nephew will help shape the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss, Tony Soprano.
The Many Saints of Newark is the much-anticipated feature film prequel to the seminal, award-winning HBO drama series “The Sopranos.” The film is set in the explosive era of the Newark riots, when rival gangsters began to rise up, challenging the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the city.
It is directed by Alan Taylor [Thor: The Dark World (2013)] who won an Emmy for his directing work – 9 episodes on “The Sopranos,” 1999-2007, from a screenplay by series creator David Chase & Lawrence Konner, based on characters created by Chase.
The Many Saints of Newark was shot on location in New Jersey and New York, and several beloved characters from the original series that inspired the film are featured in the movie. During its six-season run, “The Sopranos”—widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential television drama series of all time—was honoured with 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and two Peabody Awards, to name only a portion.
It stars an outstanding ensemble: Alessandro Nivola [Disobedience (2017), American Hustle (2013)]; Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. [Broadway’s Hamilton (2020), Murder on the Orient Express (2017)]; Jon Bernthal [Baby Driver (2017) The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)]; Corey Stoll [First Man (2018), Ant-Man (2015); Michael Gandolfini (TV’s The Deuce (2017)]; Billy Magnussen [Game Night (2018) ,The Big Short (2015)]; Michela De Rossi [Boys Cry (2018), TV’s The Rats (2018)]; John Magaro [The Finest Hours (2016), Not Fade Away (2012)]; with Emmy winner Ray Liotta [TV’s Shades of Blue (2016-18)] Goodfellas (1990)] and Vera Farmiga [(Up in the Air (2009) ,The Conjuring” films)].
The Many Saints of Newark is a prequel, set about 30 years before the start of the show, beginning in the late 1960s and covering about five years. Billed as a Tony Soprano origin story, it instead focuses largely on Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) a close friend and associate of the family who, seeing great potential in Tony (Michael Gandolfini) takes the young Soprano boy under his wing.
The film opens in a cemetery with a voice over from Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos) telling us that this story will be about his father, Dickie,
who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities – and whose influence over his impressionable nephew will help to later make the teenager into the all-powerful, cynical mob boss, Tony Soprano.
Young Tony is floundering in school – not a surprise to his mother, Livia (Vera Farmiga) – but flourishing under the wing of his beloved uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) and 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 Newark.
With a range of violence, from guns to punches and worse, racial tensions between black and white gangs flourish in Newark, where the 1967 riot killed 26 people and injured over 700 others over the course of four days as one of 159 race riots during America’s tense ‘Long Hot Summer of 1967’’, plus razor sharp dialogue, food, goomars (mistresses). The Many Saints of Newark explodes onto the screen with stunning cinematography from Kramer Morgenthau and editing from Christopher Tellefsen; convincing mise-en-scène from production designer Bob Shaw and costume designer Amy Westcott.
David Chase, told Deadline in February 2019 that he was “against the movie for a very long time, and I’m still very worried about it”. He said he was interested in exploring Tony’s boyhood against the backdrop of racial tension that exploded during his own youth in New Jersey. “I was living in suburban New Jersey at the time that happened, and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark,” he said. “I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organized crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.”
“It is going to depict when it was good,” Chase told Deadline. “The mafia was very polished at that time, how they dressed and what they did. Those traditions were followed more loosely in the series. These weren’t guys who wore tracksuits, back then.”
A treat for “Sopranos” fans, full of subtle references and answers to longstanding questions, it’s a pure pleasure to see younger versions of familiar faces .With a superlative ensemble cast and of course a top -class musical score, many will be relieved that “Woke Up This Morning” by British band Alabama 3 features on the end credits.
Gather your goomahs and congratulate your capos because this film will most definitely be a hit – capisc?
Images courtesy of: Warners Brothers Publicity