By Liz Lopez

Rating: B-

The HBO drama series “The Sopranos” was last seen in the final episode 14 years ago and now the highly anticipated movie prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, has arrived. The crime drama directed by Alan Taylor based on the script written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner is about Tony Soprano’s early life before becoming the New Jersey crime boss as seen in the series. Instead of having the focus principally on Tony Sopramo (young- William Ludwig, then Michael Gandolfini), the script introduces the myriad of adult characters and their activity that Tony observed as an impressionable child/teen. The script is entertaining, and it does not shy away from brutality. As seen in other mob type movies, there is everyday life and then there is terror, especially when Tony’s favorite uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), loses his temper and rage sets in leaving some characters alive for less time than they had anticipated. We do see various scenes of funerals due to this. If anyone seeks a story like “The Godfather,” it will not be this one. The performances are superb and keep the audience interested in the characters.

The Many Saints of Newark shows us the crime families at war, as well as the 60s Newark riots as the Black community rises together after a taxicab driver is killed by members of the police department. Dickie Moltisanti,     son of Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti (Ray Liotta), has his power struggles within the family and the changing times in the city as his former “employee,” Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.) decides to branch out on his own in more ways than one.

Tony’s father, Johnny Soprano (Jon Bernthal  ) is out of the home for his behavior and Livia (Vera Farmiga) his mother, is left to manage the home and children. Tony adores Dickie but is too naive about the grisly details of both his personal and professional life. The audience gets a glimpse of young Tony’s behavior in school and how Livia then behaves in the school meeting (excellent Farmiga moment). Even if Uncle Dickie preferred to keep young Tony away from the life of crime, it is not enough.

The cast also includes Alex Morf, Billy Magnussen, Corey Stoll, Daryl Edwards, Gabriella Piazza, Joey Diaz, John Magaro, Kathryn Kates, Lesli Margherita, and Michela De Rossi, among others.

Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content and some nudity            Runtime: 120 minutes

Production: New Line Cinema        Release Date: October 1, 2021

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

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