by Ismael Bustelo
The Many Saints of Newark is about a man in the mafia trying to turn his life around and do the right thing for once. He navigates this in a world of crime and treachery while also trying to set an example for his nephew Tony Soprano. This film serves as a prequel to the tv show The Sopranos. The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of most influential and well written shows to ever grace television screens. So it’s safe to say that the expectations for a movie based on that show would be high. But now that it's all said and done. Why should anyone go see the Many Saints of Newark?
The Many Saints of Newark is a mess. It has such a convoluted and disjointed plot that is so hard to follow, it almost invents a new art medium entirely. The movie attempts to do what was standard practice in the TV show. In the show, it was commonplace to focus more on character dynamics and well written dialogue. It seems as if the writers tried to replicate this to keep the remnants of an art piece so beloved by the old fans. However it is a failed attempt to reproduce the greatness of The Sopranos. While the majority of the dialogue is engaging, it does nothing to further the understanding of any characters or even push the plot in a coherent direction. Instead, the movie ultimately leaves the audience feeling unsatisfied and wanting an explanation of where many plot threads will go.
As an audience member I am left feeling frustrated. The audience is constantly stuck determining whether or not the film was extremely rushed or suffered from a too ambitious writers room. The movie tries to set itself apart from the show and be its own thing. But I'm left wondering if that is true. On its own, the movie is a fast paced and seemingly unfinished story. While overall the Many Saints of Newark feels as if it missed its mark, it is refreshing to revisit the world of the Sopranos.
If the movie had a longer run time and more emphasis on the many smaller side plots, it could have been better. For some it may hold no value and be a waste of money but for others it may serve as an extra long episode of the Sopranos. The Many Saints of Newark may not be a must see movie or even a completely terrible watch but if you have better things to do, save your money.