Once Upon a Time in America ★★★½

Yet another Leone picture I can admire from a distance but can’t get fully on board with or love. The classic, excellent Leone style is there, sure, but for all that the story is sweeping and grand, it really doesn’t have all that much going for it. All the time jumping helps with the mood and certain juxtapositions, but ultimately the characters are drawn too thinly and their relationships are too stretched over time and all the different cuts for me to connect. Morricone is delivering some incredible music, but it doesn’t really fit the film and at times feels inappropriately nostalgic. And I never thought I’d see the day Robert De Niro was boring. The casting is great, and all the younger stars look like the older ones. The pacing works and it’s ably directed. But in the end it just can’t earn the runtime or the discomfort of that extended rape scene. I just can’t do it.