The Many Saints of Newark – Film Review

The Many Saints of Newark is a new mafia-style movie set in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was marketed as a prequel to the HBO TV series The Sopranos.

The Sopranos was the yardstick by which all other TV/Netflix series were measured. It was the best thing ever – until Breaking Bad came along. And since then there has been nothing quite on the same level.

The Sopranos

The tv series ran between 1999 and 2007. Yes. That long ago. It spanned six seasons with 86 episodes in total. Each one averaging between 45 and 75 minutes. That’s (on average) 86 hours of film. That’s a bloody long story.

I remember watching a few episodes here and there on TV and could not get into it. People who were avid fans always told me the same thing: “You have to watch them all“. Eventually I did watch all of The Sopranos. Gorged on it more like, when it was made  available on DVD. And it is a really great TV series.

The main character Tony Soprano, was played by the late James Gandolfini. His real life son Michael Gandolfini plays the young Tony Soprano in this prequal movie and definitely looks a chip off the old block.

But here’s one of the biggest problems. Tony’s character is hardly in this movie. That marketing slogan and the taglines about it being a prequal to The Sopranos is at best misleading. At worst it’s a bit of a con. When Tony Soprano was in the movie it never went anywhere. Nothing happened that mattered and if anything his character could have been left out completely. You would hardly have noticed. The main story centres around Tony’s ‘uncle’ Dick Montesanti played by Alessandro Nivola. The character is the father of Christopher Montesanti from the TV series.

Plot? Or Plots?

The plot is disjointed and has too many subplots and scenes that seem to have no relevance. That’s because they don’t. It is a very cluttered story line. the characters do not develop at all and it leaves you feeling confused most of the time. Then when you think it is going nowhere (which it mostly is) there is a decent action scene that wakes you up. But then it slides back into going nowhere again just as quickly.

It just comes across as poorly thought out and could have been better written. Clearly the two hour length – compared to the 86 hours of TV series – is not a long time but there are plenty of 2 hour movies that manage to play out a complete story. This is definitely not one of them.

If you are expecting the movie to show you the rise of young Tony Soprano through the ranks, how and why he gets there etc… Well prepare to be disappointed. The movie is mainly about his ‘uncle’ Dick – if even that!

Spoiler Alerts?

Well, no need for spoiler alerts really, as my advice is don’t waste your time and money on this movie. But anyway, here goes…

Tony’s uncle Dick kills his own father (also called Dick) who played by Ray Liotta. It happens early enough in the movie for you to think, “oh! Ray Liotta wasn’t in it much.” But that’s where you would be wrong. Because for some strange reason Dick then starts going to visit his father’s brother (Salvatore) who is in prison. And this must be his father’s twin brother because he is also played by Ray Liotta. FFS! Initially you think that these prison meetings are going to lead somewhere but they don’t. They go absolutely f*cking nowhere! I genuinely believe they were only added to get more value for money out of Liotta being around the set. There can really be no other explanation.

There are a couple of good old violent mafia film type scenes but not much else to shout about.

Even the ending is worse than disappointing. It is as if they have another two or three movies to follow. Well if they do I will not be watching them.


Really? If you have read this far do you really need telling? In a word: “Disappointing”. In two words: “F*#king crap!” “Don’t bother” LOL…

I will give this movie one star (out of 5). And that is pushing it!

2 thoughts on “The Many Saints of Newark – Film Review

  1. I think you are completely over analyzing. As a fan of the HBO series, I found this prequel to be very entertaining. Was it Oscar worthy?
    No, but, the 2 hours I spent watching it was not in anyway a waste of time. It filled in some questionable scenes from the series and gave the back ground as to how Tony came into power.
    Basically, I enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan to the Sopranos

    1. HI Loise, Interesting take on it. And I am sure many others will also enjoy it. For me however, it just fell short of expectations. With such a great series I hoped for better. Maybe that’s the problem and the difference between things made for TV series and made for 2 hours in the cinema… Two different modes of a similar entertainment…
      thanks for reading the review.

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