Alan Taylor’s The Many Saints of Newark Returns To The World Of The Sopranos 14 years after the last chapter of the series. It is a risky bet that tries to expand the universe of the television classic to a new level. Beyond that, it is also a reconstruction of a cultural phenomenon that involves the immense figure of Tony Soprano.
In fact, Alan Taylor’s film is rumored to be a tribute to history and character. But beyond that, it is also a celebration of a narrative universe that dazzled fans of the series. The definitive evolution of the sinister figure of the mobster into something completely new was one of the high points of the story. One that the film will try to preserve in what appears to be an elaborate look at violence, inner evil, and contemporary fear.
To better understand the prequel to Taylor’s Sopranos, we leave you five things you should know about the movie and its context.
You should know a few things about the series to enjoy the movie
The Many Saints of Newark is a full-blown prequel to The Sopranos. It occurs several decades before the events narrated in the series. And although there are new characters, the general context of the original show also remains. David Chase, creator of the classic and co-writer of the film, made sure to include enough number of references to relate both works.
The result? What appears to be a sneaky tribute to both the spirit of the film and the figure of Tony Soprano. So although you can enjoy the movie without having fresh some details of the series, yes you should know the original story.
Another way to see the mafia in ‘The Many Saints of Newark’
It was important for David Chase and Alan Taylor to show another version of Tony Soprano’s gangster world. So the action moves back to the 1960s in Newark, NJ, during the Newark riots. Placing the film chronologically in the midst of a series of race riots changes the tone of its premise.. It is not just a film that pays attention to the mechanisms of crime. It also interacts with the fact of good and evil on a new scale.
According to David Chase, this plot dimension allows the character of Tony Soprano to have a different nuance. He is still a teenager, but growing up in the middle of a country shaken by violence. The vision about the moral is different and that is the main thread that connects it with its future version.
There will be more stories about the world of ‘The Sopranos’
One of the most interesting things about The Many Saints of Newark is to show that the world of The Sopranos does not depend on a single figure. And although Tony Soprano is a monumental character who is honored in the film, he is not the most important. Is left open then the possibility of new revisions on the original material. And especially, the mafia family’s relationships with American culture.
One of the strengths of the film is the fact that it reconstructs the notion of crime in the series from its origin. In the HBO hit, The Sopranos were held in the middle of a contemporary version of the criminal and the traditional mafia. Those interconnections made the program somewhat more elaborate and substantial. The mafia is an entity that has hundreds of ramifications. And apparently Chase intends to explore them all.
Ethnic and racial play an important role in ‘The Sopranos’
The Sopranos spoke of the integration of the family into the American way of life, in what seemed like a cynical parody of current morality. Taylor’s film decides to analyze the racial tensions of the late sixties and that adds pressure to the plot. What’s new is that Tony Soprano will have to question his own identity and that will influence in the future, in their way of understanding their decisions.
There is something of deep interest in the way Chase and Taylor encountered an uncomfortable historical period for their characters. One to which, in addition, must be added the way in which Italian-Americans are understood. That will set the tone and meaning of the family as a criminal entity, but also of Tony as its leader.
‘The Many Saints of Newark’ is a snapshot of its time
But beyond the racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts, David Chase tries to tell the origin of The Sopranos. And do it in a New Jersey very different from the one he showed in the series. In fact, he used his personal experience to give a more intimate and multidimensional meaning to his characters. According to an interview with Deadline, Chase was concerned about how to tell another story about The Sopranos. That, without losing sight of the original. And he did this by assuming that context would now be so important in the narrative as to influence it.
“I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from and where the riots happened,” he told the publication. “I was living in the suburbs of New Jersey at the time it happened and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark. He was just interested in the whole Newark riots thing. I started thinking about those events and organized crime, and I just became interested in mixing those two elements. “
David Chase for Deadline
So the film tries to reflect changes and social conditions that The Sopranos analyzed in a tangential way. One point in favor of the future film.