Once Upon a Time in America ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I was so excited to see this film. Robert De Niro, Sergio Leone, extra long epic, sounds like my kind of thing. But honestly I kind of hate this movie.

The style is totally at odds with the actual text of the film, and the fact that Sergio Leone seemed to have such a fondness for the characters and world just made me uncomfortable.

Like, Robert de Niro’s character rapes his childhood friend when they’re adults. This scene is brutal, and this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it wasn’t followed up by de Niro’s character wistfully looking out at the sea set to Ennio Morricone’s elegiac score.

This film is just so full of uncomfortable sexual assault and sexual scenes involving characters who are minors that I can’t understand why it’s being filmed in such a nostalgic way.

Also, I really am not sure this story supports the 3hr 45min runtime. I know there was a shorter version that was deemed a terrible mess, but so much of this film amounts to very little that I have a hard time believing there was nothing more that could have been cut.

Honestly so much of this story relates to random sexual events instead of crime, violence, or memory that I’m convinced that Sergio Leone would have included the subplot about Sonny’s penis if he had ended up directing The Godfather.

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