HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
   
 
Newest Articles
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
   
 
  Once Upon a Time in America The Longest Guilt Trip
Year: 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Burt Young, Tuesday Weld, Treat Williams, Danny Aiello, Richard Bright, James Hayden, William Forsythe, Darlanne Fluegel, Larry Rap, Richard Foronjy, Robert Harper, James Russo, Jennifer Connelly
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Someone has called Noodles (Robert De Niro), who used to be a gangster in the 1930s, back to New York City, but he cannot work out who it might have been as he believed his past to be dead and buried, not to mention the people he remembers. The reason he had to flee all those years ago was that he had become involved with a potential crime, along with his buddies, which had ended up with all of them hunted down and killed by the authorities, all except for Noodles - even his girlfriend Eve (Darlanne Fluegel) was murdered. Now, in 1968, he will finally get to the heart of the mystery, but first he must track those who have survived from his memories...

A true labour of love that took years to reach the screen, Sergio Leone's final film was not well received at the time it was released, which only led to more ignominy for the epic as it was recut to a shorter length, something which either turned off the fans who might have appreciated the full version or confused those who were not going to enjoy it in whatever form it arrived in anyway. Now we can see it as it was intended to be seen, nearly four hours of gangsters coming to terms with their failings, which for some is one of the greatest films ever made. However, this does not quite prevent some naysayers pointing out that even in its longer cut, there's a lot about this that is plain awkward.

If Once Upon a Time in America is not quite a curate's egg, one wonders if its flaws would have been quite as forgiven if this had been made by a director with lesser cultural standing. There's no faulting Leone's ambition, as he was to be admired as one of the few filmmakers who would even have considered bringing such a mélange of diverse scenes to the screen as one coherent entity, and in truth coherence was not its strong point. For every shocking sequence of violence or moving recognition of what Noodles has lost through his follies, there is a poorly judged try at making a statement or bringing all the time periods it concentrates on together, which often leaves the plot in tangles.

This renders the film a remote experience, as while you can appreciate the hard work that went into creating it, it's not always the most emotionally satisfying of stories. Leone edited it so that we flit backwards and forwards in time, from Noodles' childhood in a Jewish neighbourhood where he learned the tricks of the criminal trade with his friends, right up to the late sixties where he will at last get the answers to all those questions that have been bothering him all these years - better late then never, one assumes. The bulk of the narrative takes place in the early thirties where Noodles gets out of prison and joins with the bootlegging operation of Max (James Woods), his closest relationship but one which will bring about tragedy not only for them both, but too many others as well.

However, Noodles always hoped his closest relationship would be with the girl from his neighbourhood who he idolised, Deborah, played as an adult by Elizabeth McGovern in a dog of a role as she has to essay the woman of his dreams, while being both the movie star she aspires to be and ending up savaged by his impossible to suppress evil, which naturally forces her away for good. The male cast fare better, but curiously even with this amount of time to play with they never get a hang of their characters and rarely offer stellar performances; funnily enough only Tuesday Weld as the masochistic Carol truly convinces, perhaps because the women get such a raw deal from the men here and she seems the best survivor. Really this is about betrayal, not only for the friendships, but for the way that nostalgia is corrupted by death and the tendency of bad memories to surface, romance ends with rape from Noodles, and high ideals are always brought low by someone else's immorality - or your own. The final scene suggesting it was all a dream doesn't do this any favours, but it's a fascinating failure for all that. Music by Ennio Morricone.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4179 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: