Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America ★★★

A Long review for a long film.

An epic gangster tale. The production design is epic. The direction of Sergio Leone is great, I think he is the only one that can pull this kind of film. The world building is fleshed out fantastically. And the score by Ennio Morricone, I think is the best I've ever heard so far. It added greatness and epicness to the film. It is really well done.

But my main issue with the film is it is too long, and is somehow a bit confusing because there are some loose scenes that were not included with the film. It is still great, but it was really intended to be a 6 hours. I felt that some scenes were too long, the pacing was a bit slow at the second half and added with the confusion on my mind on who is killing who? Why did that happen? What is the reason on why is that happening? I'm afraid that I'm lost at the third act of the film. I think some scenes should be included to tie up the loose ends of the film. But it doesn't take away the film's greatness. It's still an epic tale, and is highly recommended. But without my confusion on the third act, I wouldn't mind the pacing. I feel a little bit disconnected from the story in the third act.

And I think the non-linear storytelling in a gangster film is okay, but the epicness, the mystery, and the uncertainty could be enhanced when it was told in a linear way. There are some scenes where non-linear storytelling works. But most of the scenes in the editing felt like loose. I really felt a scene was missing to tie up the loose ends

All that's been said, it is still a great film, and when you're watching it, you should pick a long free time because it's a ling movie. I want to see a 4k restoration of this film, because some scenes were old-looking (You know when you watch the extended edition of the film).

But I don't think that I will give this film a higher rating than 4 stars, because I felt 4 hours is enough for a film to wrap the story up. And the world building is well-done, the characters, but I felt the what has been told is not enough, and I don't think I have the luxury of time to watch this film again (Except on a 4k restoration). It is great, but something in the story was missing to wrap the film.

All of this are just my opinion on the film, I liked the film, but I don't think I will give it a 5 star rating. I'm sorry.

IMDb Trivias:

1. When filming was completed, the footage ran to a total of eight to ten hours. Director Sergio Leone and editor Nino Baragli trimmed the footage to around six hours, with the plan of releasing the film as two three-hour movies. The producers refused this idea, and Leone had to further cut the film down to three hours and forty-nine minutes.
2. A few days before the film's premiere in 1984, Treat Williams found out the two-hour version, not the three hour and forty-nine minute version, would be shown in theaters. He was heard to have said that no one would understand the movie in the shortened version. Indeed, the film did not do well at theaters, and was shut out of the Oscars, and received no nominations. When the video cassette and DVD versions were released in the original three hour and forty-nine minute version, the film ultimately found commercial and critical success.

You'll be carrying the stink of the streets with you for the rest of your life!

I like the stink of the streets. It makes me feel good. And I like the smell of it, it opens up my lungs. And it gives me a hard-on.

Directing - 3/5
Writing - 3/5
Cinematography - 3.5/5
Acting - 3/5
Design - 4.5/5
Visual Effects - 3.5/5
Editing - 3/5
Pacing - 2/5
Sound - 4/5


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