This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Eduardo_Quina’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
A very interesting read of the classic "Gangster Film". Leone truly wanted to make something that stood on it's own out and also break cliches at the same time. He somewhat succeed in this but with some consequences.
The first 40 minutes are pretty standard on plot but are very well executed: Ennio Morricone's score is great, DeNiro does a great job as always, and it's very good at building tension and making things more emotional and grey than your typical crime epic. The segment with them as teenagers is pretty cheesy sometimes but it gets the job done as being nostalgic and well paced.
After that the movie kinda lost me in a certain way. It was good as the de-romanticising of the character of the gangster but it was very unspecial as a film on it's own. Still pretty fun but nothing really unique.
It wasn't really until the rape scene that the film starts striking again and this become a full character study and subversion of the crime genre....
until it stops when the plot twist hits and the cheesiness from the beggining comes back.
In general, a very well made movie with a lot of heart (and sometimes lack of it) that falls flat when all of it's story beats (that were being built over 3 hours and a half) come together and it becomes this charismatic but insanely sloppy take on the Gangster film.
Words cannot express enough how The Irishman is better than this one, a film that does both the subversion part and the love letter part wonderfully (besides, it's a little bit shorter so there's that). Go watch that one instead, although Once Upon a Time in America is still pretty good.