Much like its predecessor, The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark isn’t afraid to show onscreen violence. However, it does play a crucial role.
Following in the footsteps of The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark is an evocative, occasionally violent portrayal of Mob life in the 1960s. Serving as a precursor to the iconic series, the film introduces several of The Sopranos’ most well-known characters. Understandably, considering the tone of the original show and the central theme of organized crime, the new movie doesn’t shy away from showing onscreen brutality – often conducted by the film’s supposed protagonists.
Set several decades before The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark chronicles both Tony Soprano’s (played by Michael Gandolfini) induction into the world of the Mafia, and the misadventures of his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola). The film also sheds light on the backstory of several other crucial characters, including the likes of Livia Soprano (Vera Farmiga), Junior Soprano (Corey Stoll), and Paulie Gualtieri (Billy Magnussen). Laced with political and societal undertones, the film uses the notorious 1967 Newark Riots as a backdrop, highlighting the charged cultural tensions of the era.