The Many Saints of Newark Review

Conner Garrity, Staff Writer

It has been 14 years since The Sopranos cut to black leaving the audience questioning if their cable boxes had gone out. Since then, people have been wondering if they’ll ever answer the question of what happened afterwards.  

Cut to today and we see the release of “The Many Saints of Newark”, a prequel that focuses on the early days of the Soprano crew when Tony Soprano’s father Johnny Soprano, played by Jon Bernthal, was running the crew. While this is a Sopranos prequel, the story does focus on Dickie Moltisati, a famous gangster and father to Christopher Moltisati in the show, and playing a supporting role is Tony Soprano which this story acts as sort of an origin story for him. 

As stated before, the film acts as an origin story for Tony Soprano, played by Micheal Gandoflini, but it focuses on Dickie Moltisanti, played by Alessandro Nivola, and how he got the reputation that is referenced throughout the show. We get to see the return of many familiar faces, such as Tony’s mother Livia, played by Vera Farmiga who captures the performances like how late actress Nancy Marchand was able to do in the show before. There were more members of the original Soprano crew such as “Junior” Soprano, played by Cory Stoll, Silvio Dante, played by John Magaro, and Paulie Walnuts, played by Paulie Magnussen. While they aren’t as prominent in the movie, it is nice to see these characters again after all these years. 

While it’s nice to see returning characters again after not seeing them after all these years, the story does have some issues that might stand out to casual viewers. The plot has a lot going on, with Dickie committing a horrendous act in the first act and then trying to redeem himself, to him dealing with an up and coming rival gang who he had done wrong. Meanwhile, Tony is slacking off in school and becoming more reckless and falling to his family behavior like how he is in the show. 

Regarding performances, the two highlights of the film are Alessandro Nivola’s Dickie Moltisati and Michael Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. Before this film, Dickie Moltisti was only mentioned through dialog throughout the show, Nivola plays well with what he is given, playing a short temper, but also trying to do some good in his life. On the other end, we see the origin story of Tony Soprano. Tony, played by Michael Gandolfini, has a lot to live up to. Trying to live up to the expectations of the fans and legacy that his father left behind, Gandolfini plays a familiar but unique version of Tony. He’s able to portray and pay respect to his father while making this version of the character his own.

In conclusion, “The Many Saints of Newark” had a lot going for it. It had to tell the story of Dickie Moltisati while balancing Tony’s story among other tales in a two-hour movie. While the film had good performances from the cast, it struggles to tell multiple stories throughout the movie. It does try to give some of them a satisfying conclusion, but also leaves the door open for either a sequel or for new viewers to give the show a watch. 

-3 out of 5 stars