Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America ★★★★

Note to everybody: don't come expecting a Godfather nor a Scorsese mob film. In fact, don't come expecting a gangster film at all - take it like a family drama with some romance and crime throw in between.

That's right, perhaps by biggest mistake was coming into this film with The Godfather and The Irishman fresh on my mind, as right now, these are pretty much my template of what a gangster film is - and this one plays under another completely different rules.

In fact, you may say this is almost a 4hr version of the final hour of The Irishman. This is a very nostalgic and almost sad version of a mob film. The music by Enio feels less threatening and almost like it belong more to a David Lean's earlier romantic dramas like Great Expectations.

De Niro plays very low-key to what fans might expect now, but especially back in the 80s. Speaking of which, the acting by the adult cast is really great. Sadly, it takes a while for the acting to grow on you (at least for myself). The kids, on the other hand... boy! That whole thing was uneven as hell. Some were good, while others sounded worst than Edward Furlong on T2.

Speaking of uneven, the pace of the film would break it or make it for many of you. It takes almost an hour for the movie to actually begin, which made most of the first act an exercise on dullness. The sweeping cinematography and fantastic production design helps, but Jesus Christ! Was that unnecessarily dull.

All in all, this is a really good send off for an iconic director. Its certainly a new direction for the icon of Spaghetti Westerns, and his final risk, really paid off. You just have to come with the right expectation.

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