The Many Saints of Newark feels like a familiar piece of television that effectively uses the moviegoing experience to draw you into the world of these characters. You’ll catch yourself caring about them and even rooting for them despite seeing how much harm they’re responsible for.
For the unfamiliar, The Many Saints of Newark is a movie prequel of sorts to HBO’s The Sopranos. It provides a glimpse into the world of Tony Soprano when he was a child so that audiences can see the people and circumstances that helped influence him to become the person he is in the series.
While we get to see Tony’s father Johnny Soprano as the captain of the crime family, Tony’s closest relationship is with his uncle Dickie Moltisanti. Dickie’s son Christopher would go on to have a similarly close relationship with Tony in the Sopranos series.
It’s a complicated dynamic to watch, especially if you’ve watched the television series. But even without the full knowledge of these characters and storylines, it’s easy to recognize that the adults in young Tony Soprano’s life are not traditionally good people, let alone role models.
As members of the mob, they are incredibly comfortable with violence and brutality, as well as skirting around the law, with a lax and forgiving viewpoint on stealing and acquiring money in the form of “protection.” With so much of these behaviors being commonplace throughout his boyhood, it’s easy to understand how Tony Soprano would become the man he is.
As prequels often do, The Many Saints of Newark has the challenge of living up to the success of the original. And under the writing of series creator David Chase, it’s safe to say that the film is able to deliver on a captivating look into the world before Tony Soprano took over.
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