Why? Why does this exist? Why did they make a two-hour, overfilled prequel episode and call it a movie? I mean, I guess The Many Saints of Newark at the very least looks expensive, and Alessandro Nivola’s fresh take on Chrissy’s father saves this movie from pure boredom, but mostly every other character and performance comes off as a horridly distracting impression of their counterparts from The Sopranos (1999-2007). What’s even worse than that though is the god-awful, meandering, and uninteresting story writing too which becomes far too dry, insecure, and meatless to justify any of its somewhat admirable end goals. It also dares to cross itself into historical territory yet with such a weak voice for the crime and ethnicity-related subject matter of the time period like its some dvd-bin riff on Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. It’s a real turn off to me when movies act tonally thought-provoking but somehow leisure themselves into being as skeletal as this.
Also, if you’re planning on watching The Sopranos for the first time, absolutely under NO circumstances watch this; it spoils the living crap out of every season, not to mention, it’ll probably be an even bigger drag to get through if you haven’t already preconceived investment for these characters’ lives from watching the series. Plus you’ll also have to deal with constant sequences of them just proving already established information from the show through fan-service-y examples and even worse, a lot of wasteful visual referencing to already told stories about the past which are also extracted from scenes of the show. Look! You know what this is! Now clap!
“The Many Saints of Newark” is now playing in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max.