The prequel to one of the most successful and acclaimed series in television history opens in theaters: ‘The Sopranos’
It is significant that two commercial releases, among the excessive batch of news this weekend, too many hits on the billboard, are supported by two successful online platforms. It is the sign of the times. The current audiovisual production inevitably passes through the large video-on-demand corporations, but it is also confirmed that, for the moment, the cinematographic distribution does not leave aside the traditional circuit of theaters, despite the rumors spread in full pandemic. ‘Criminal saints’ premiered last month in the US, simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters, combining both routes to find greater profitability.
The prequel to one of the most acclaimed series in television history, ‘The Sopranos’, deserved special treatment. Although it seems like a fan service, it is not only intended to satisfy lovers of the starting material, who will especially enjoy the leisurely description of the beginnings of Tony Soprano’s tribulations. Since his childhood, in New Jersey, he was already pointing out ways. Crime was already knocking on his door.
‘Criminal saints’, whose title seems to want to avoid the possibility of citing its starting point to reach a different audience, can be seen without any reference, as just another independent mobster drama, although many nuances are lost if the original series is unknown. In fact, the beginning places the viewer on a stage for the already initiated, with a gloomy tour of a cemetery with voice-overs that tell how the mythical character played by the late James Gandolfini – how great he was! – sent them to the other neighborhood .
Precisely his son, Michael Gandolfini, takes the role that made his father famous, playing a teenage Tony Soprano with a similar, tender and brutal presence. The script is in charge of David Chasse, creator of the series for HBO, complying with the file. The result is optimal, although not extraordinary. His greatest achievement is his continuation of the exploration of family ties, in this case bloody, with an interesting choral cast -exceptional Alessandro Nivola at the head-, as the canons of the genre command.
A picture of ‘Santos criminals’.
Inevitable not remembering the ‘The Godfather’ saga, having gangsters involved, when tasting the vision of crime and the family that ‘Criminal Saints’ proposes, a look that does not evade the common places, rather the opposite. Alan Taylor, who defends himself better in the serialized format, with his contributions to ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘The Sopranos’, than in the field of feature films, with punctures like ‘Thor: The Dark World’ or ‘Terminator’ Genesis’. His filmography also includes the direction of some chapters of ‘Mad Men’ or ‘Boradwalk Empire’, which is why he handles the subject well, without stumbling, with good artisan manners.