The Many Saints Of Newark will be judged in the same way The Godfather Part III was: a robustly made, averagely enjoyable gangster flick which is choked by the masterpiece standing behind it.

Fourteen years have passed since the greatest television show ever made came to the most abrupt of ends and we were all unceremoniously booted out of New Jersey. The darkness that succeeded The Sopranos has remained entirely silent – until now. Prayers have finally been answered by The Many Saints Of Newark – a glorified TV movie which plays out much like a feature length version of one of its source material’s many flashbacks.

There is something of the counterfeit present this time around though. Personalities are replaced by caricatures; authentic dialogue has been reduced to catchphrases – flying in the face of the series’ sensibilities, right down to a hammy, ill-fitting narration that loosely guides us through the story of Dickie Moltisanti (a mythological character we have met only through nostalgic references before this point). It’s sometimes interesting but too often falls foul of the siren of fan service.

Chase’s signature bathos remains present throughout, although to far more varying degrees of success. Every episode of his show promised us what we were about to watch wasn’t TV (via the hiss and crackle of the HBO stinger), which makes it all the more ironic that the universe’s first cinematic outing would have been far better served as a mini-series on the small screen. Instead, Many Saints ambles for too long before finally rushing its finale, leaving us to fade away instead of spectacularly cut to black.

What made The Sopranos exceptional was that it had so many new things to say – about America, therapy, family, life, and death. The Many Saints of Newark is content in repeating itself.



CAST: Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael Gandolfini, Jon Bernthal, Vera Famiga, Corey Stoll, Michela De Rossi, Ray Liotta

DIRECTOR: Alan Taylor

WRITERS: David Chase, Lawrence Konner

SYNOPSIS: Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark, N.J., history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters start to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, whose influence over his nephew will help shape the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss, Tony Soprano.