REVIEW: The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

The Saints of Newark is a cyberpunk-inspired game that has been compared to Deus Ex, Blade Runner, and Ghost in the Shell. It follows the story of a hacker called “Saints” who is trying to unlock the truth about his past.

The the many saints of newark trailer is a 2019 film that was released on May 10, 2019. The film’s synopsis is as follows:


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From the start, The Many Saints of Newark was a hazardous venture. One of the clearest instances of a fool’s errand conceivable is to follow up something as popular and carefully built as The Sopranos. It grows in the aftermath of El Camino, which contributed nothing to Breaking Bad and spoiled a beautiful conclusion with a pointless epilogue that concluded, “What you thought occurred did, in fact, happen, but there were a few of connection flights along the way.” But David Chase chose to go backwards rather than ahead, which is a good thing since showing a single scene after The Sopranos’ last scene would send the whole narrative crashing down like the last move in a Jenga game. So we have a prequel that explains how and why Tony Soprano became connected with the Mafia and recounts some of the incidents we’ve heard about in passing on the program. And it’s all right. The Sopranos is largely unblemished, and it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into the lives of others who came before Tony, but it doesn’t add up to anything.

Following the 1967 Newark riots, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) observes the evolution of organized crime, with the old guard gradually giving way to his age. Dickie and his friends struggle to maintain the empire they inherited while black gangs headed by Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.) carve out their own area. Meanwhile, a young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini) lurks in the background, torn between a regular existence and the criminal underworld ruled by his family.


The Many Saints of Newark, to its credit, seems instantly familiar. Even though it’s thirty years before The Sopranos premiered, it doesn’t take long to realize you’ve walked back into David Chase’s universe. The characters seem like people you know – although older people you know – and the language is snappy, witty, and insightful. This tale is about the generation preceding Tony’s, and they aren’t like the show’s characters. There isn’t nearly as much joking about or referencing movies, and there aren’t quite as many screams of bombastic confidence. They’re more low-key, and they seem to be more serious about their work. This is demonstrated by comparing them with the up-and-coming mobsters who will one day become Tony’s henchman; each gets little screen time but is precisely as you remember him in terms of personality, and the attitude change is obvious.

Dickie, although being more capable than his predecessors, craves for the period before his in the same manner Tony does on the program. The cycle of violence, our responsibility for our own decisions, the contradiction of the mob’s bigotry and their readiness to employ black gangs to do their dirty work, the deification of the Old Country, and, most importantly, materialism as the source of all evil all return in The Many Saints of Newark. As much as Tony mourned the Mafia’s demise and how he’d arrived at the conclusion rather than the beginning, Dickie did the same now. And we witness all of those characteristics represented by one of the underworld giants of yesteryear, “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti (Ray Liotta), even in old age, via Dickie’s father, “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti (Ray Liotta). Perhaps the “decline” isn’t so much a disaster as history repeating itself, as it does in every generation, as The Many Saints of Newark suggests. Is Chase becoming more upbeat as time passes?

The Many Saints of Newark

I wish I could claim he hasn’t lost his sense of humour. While many elements of The Many Saints of Newark are as subtle as The Sopranos (for example, everything I described above), there are a few instances infected with the typical prequelitis that even Chase couldn’t avoid. The scene in the teaser when a guidance counselor explains Tony’s intellect is still there, and it stinks. What’s worse, it’s part of a crucial moment that would have been fantastic if it hadn’t been for the fact that it provides genuine insight into Tony’s growth. This is the major one, but there are a few more moments where the need to reference the series is satiated; some are amusing homages, while others scream, “Get it!? It’s like on the show!” I won’t give anything away, and I think that various ones will appeal to different individuals, and that some would universally adore or detest them, but they made me grin and roll my eyes.

The Many Saints of Newark is visually stunning in every way. Alan Taylor, who directed The Sopranos and many other HBO programs (as well as Thor: The Dark World, which I think is a larger plus point for me than most) returns to helm the picture, and he hasn’t lost his touch. The cinematography is superb, with some breathtaking vistas that make the narrative seem more operatic than it is. Both of the standouts, in my opinion, feature a doorway: in one, a lovely Italian lady stands contentedly with the sun beaming on her; in the other, a gang boss rushes into a building carrying a shotgun while fire plumes behind him, an angel of death seeking vengeance. They’re breathtaking, and I’m still thinking about them after the credits have rolled. As with previous installments in the series, violence strikes unexpectedly, almost as though in a horror film, and its heinous consequences are as disturbing as ever. Newer, tougher, political rhythms drown out old-fashioned studio songs in the music, which is selected with care to show how Newark is changing.

The Many Saints of Newark

The performances, especially in characters we haven’t seen previously, are outstanding. The primary character is Dickie Moltisanti, and Alessandro Nivola plays another of Chase’s all-too-human villains. Throughout The Many Saints of Newark, Dickie does some really terrible things, but his rationale is always unsettlingly sympathetic, and Nivola eventually creates a sad guy who can’t stop doing evil to people he loves, even when he tries to do the opposite. Harold McBrayer is made to feel like a normal man who doesn’t belong near the rackets where he earns his livelihood by Leslie Odom Jr. It’s both heartbreaking and energizing to see him go from a struggling family guy to a criminal revolutionary. Ray Liotta is great for reasons I won’t reveal here, and you won’t recognize them right away, but once you see all he put into this film, you’ll want to cheer him, even if you’re seeing it on HBO. Giuseppina, Hollywood Dick’s new wife and Dickie’s ultimate infatuation, is played by Michela De Rossi. It’s a difficult job, since she has to be both the symbol of the ideal that each of the major criminals aspires to accomplish, and a woman who wants her own life in America, free of others’ influence. While De Rossi is far from an angel, her performance is flawless, and your heart bleeds for Giuseppina.

Then there are the characters from The Sopranos who are being portrayed by new actors, and the results are uneven. Michael Gandolfini lives up to every expectation we had after seeing the teaser; every second he’s on-screen, he convincingly portrays his father, and you never doubt that you’re seeing Tony Soprano. Uncle Junior is nearly as excellent as Corey Stoll’s portrayal of Dominic Chianese’s clumsy elder statesman. And Jon Bernthal is a huge improvement than Joseph Siravo’s Johnny Boy Soprano, who was always too cartoonish on the show; Bernthal portrays Johnny Boy as the terrifying thug he must have been. John Magaro, on the other hand, transforms Silvio into a full caricature; it must have been tough since Silvio is already a highly exaggerated character, yet it’s impossible not to chuckle anytime he appears in the film, and not in a good way. And, although I adore Vera Farmiga, I prefer the series’ Laila Robins. The others are OK, but they don’t stick around long enough to leave an impact.

The Many Saints of Newark

What does this mean for The Sopranos? There isn’t much. The Many Saints of Newark is a wonderful addition to a classic television series, but it isn’t essential, and it falls short of its predecessor in terms of quality, despite some excellent cinematography and acting. Perhaps its greatest aspect is that, with the exception of one narrative element that I wish they’d kept a secret, it doesn’t detract from The Sopranos; considering how prequels typically go, I’ll take that as a victory.

Plot – 8
Acting – 8 points
9 for directing/editing
9 – Music/Sound
8 different themes



The Many Saints of Newark is a wonderful addition to a classic television series, but it isn’t essential, and it falls short of its predecessor in terms of quality, despite some excellent cinematography and acting.

The the many saints of newark rotten tomatoes is a movie about the Newark riots. It was released in 2021 and has an IMDB rating of 7.8/10.

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