Will the followers of The Sopranos enjoy The Many Saints of Newark? The Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score of 58% and the IMDb score of 6.6/10 leave much to be desired. As one who didn’t watch Tony Soprano and Company, I hoped this might spur my interest into the franchise. It didn’t. As near as I can tell, the theme is “if you grow up around thugs, you’ll likely turn into a thug.” We saw that in the Godfather back in 1972. The Many Saints add the Newark riots but that fails to contribute much to the story.
So, maybe I missed something. Is it the disjointed presentation? I read the Wikipedia synopsis and I didn’t seem to miss anything. With this cast, how did it fail to deliver?
“Two hours of reach exceeding grasp, a jumble of moments that often only toggle between the exasperating and repellent.” Roger Ebert.com
“The Many Saints of Newark might have played better as a limited series rather than a truncated self-contained production, with the potential for a deeper story to unfold over several impending episodes.” Los Angeles Times
In trying to do too much The Many Saints does too little. I give the HBO Max flick 2.5 Gavels and it receives a fine 74% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
A young Tony Soprano grows up adoring his uncle Dickie Moltisanti. With Johnny Soprano in prison for two to five years, Dickie promises to look after the young boy. As the boy gets kicked out of school for running a numbers operation, Dickie fails miserably. Tony only returns to school because he thinks he has an aptitude for football. Temptation comes in the form of some “hot” speakers. Dickie’s imprisoned uncle advises that Dickie should give Tony a nice Christmas present, i.e., “stay out of his life.” Sure, that’s gonna happen!
Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Vera Farmiga, and Leslie Odom, Jr. are just a few of the top-notch actors that fail to give the film any heft. You get violence and revulsion without any story. It’s nice to see James Gandolfini‘s son, Michael, re-create the role of Tony Soprano, but this film is more about Dickie Moltisanti. He’s played by Alessandra Nivola (Red Sea Diving Resort), a character that gives the viewer little reason to invest any emotion.
“Maybe some of the things you choose to do are not God’s favorites,” says the murderer Uncle “Sally” to Dickie. I certainly wouldn’t choose to pay for The Many Saints at the theater. You will care less who lives and who dies. Harold McBrayer, cutting into the “white boys business,” is the most compelling figure, but he gets little screen time. Is Dickie really the man to propel Tony into a life of crime? Surely, there must be more.
“It’s a tray of Carmela’s ziti piled high with cannoli and gabagool, then drenched in espresso and red wine – a waste of its ingredients.” Washington Post
No idea what that last quote means but it was too good to pass up. In conclusion, nothing here to cause me to binge The Sopranos.