Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America ★★★★★

Saw the runtime and I was like... oh fuck we’re in for a difficult watch here. Then it flew by and I realised I just watched an actual masterpiece.
Sergio Leone takes his Western roots and transfers the techniques into a brilliant gangster film. Robert J. Thompson says “The Western has been replaced by the mob story as the central epic of America” and I see that as a very true statement and I think this film embodies that entirely. A great rise and fall story where you really just get an insight not just into American gangster life but just someone’s life in general. It’s because of that it feels incredibly intimate and personal despite being quite brutal. There’s a certain elegance to this film as well despite it being gritty and dark which just comes from the brilliant film-making. I can’t comment much on Leone’s approach because I’ve only seen Once Upon a Time in the West (and now this) but I know the man is no gravel for deconstructing the myths of genre and this flick is definitely an example of that. This film holds up a dark mirror of the classic gangster archetype which basically killed the American gangster genre for what it was previously known as in my opinion. I can see how this film has allowed the gangster genre to to metamorphose into something much more broad. Despite, style and flair being present they’re broken down and made a lot more raw. It’s just a complete epic as well there being an emotional core which we know I love and who couldn’t love that?

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