The Many Saints of Newark ending explained – will Tony go bad or go home? A few sinners too
This article discusses the ending of the HBO Max film The Many Saints of Newark, so it will contain spoilers.
Ready Steady Cut Film Critic, M.N. Miller, said The Many Saints of Newark is “…atmospheric and compelling with a performance from Alessandro Nivola that finds that sweet spot where male vulnerability turns into toxicity.”
The Many Saints of Newark takes from The Sopranos lore and recreates scenes that only the classic characters talk about during the show’s run. This Sopranos story focuses on the legend of Tony’s hero and Christopher’s father, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola). A man Tony looked up to as a child through his teenage years. Christopher was just an infant when Tony was a teenager. Times are changing in their neighborhood. Newark is lit up at night, burning from race riots.
Anthony’s father, Johnny Boy (Jonathan Bernthal), goes to prison. His Uncle Junior (Corey Stoll) is a loser. His mother, Livia (Vera Farmiga), is a borderline personality that brings anxiety and stress to almost any situation. Only his Uncle Dickie can set him straight because behind all the violence and bloodshed is a man who cares about who Anthony is, not just who he may grow up to be.
HBO Max’s The Many Saints of Newark ending explained
Newark’s ending fits the history of The Sopranos. Essentially, if you are a fan, as soon as you saw that Dickie was putting television trays into his trunk from Paulie, you knew what was coming. He would be murdered very soon. We never knew why, but a cop shot him. We know that much. So, when Dickie, on a cold, snowy night in Newark, pulled those trays out of his trunk and was shot multiples times in the back. Coldly murdered after finally having a redeeming quality. He is left lying in the snow like that Robert Frost poem AJ and Meadow talked about decades later.
How did Dickie redeem himself, exactly? I mean, he murdered “Hollywood Dickie” (Ray Liotta), his father (you’ll notice the same blackbird of death in the garage). Why? It wasn’t just because his father brought home an Italian Beauty, Guiseppina (Michela De Rossi), that his stepmother is younger than he is. He has some unprocessed childhood trauma of him beating Dickie’s mom. Dickie now sees him doing the same to Guiseppina. He killed his childhood friend Harold (Leslie Odom, Jr.), Cyril, who needs to own that. Dickie was even responsible for giant Buddha’s death after beating him for disrespecting his Goomar. While holding up off the ground, he says he loves her. Then his head is blasted clean off by a shotgun shot from Harold in a passing car.
Oh, did we mention he kills Guisy after he finds out she slept with Harold? He drowns her in an icy cold ocean during a blustery winter. Signifying a cleansing of her sins and dying by his hands, a saint if you will, that all is forgiven. So, when Dickie’s twin brother, who he visits in prison as a father figure and defacto shrink, tells him to leave Anthony alone, he obeys. He keeps killing everyone he loves around him. It is only a matter of time until he does the same to his nephew, who he loves and adores. This is the one good deed he may have ever done.
So, he gives Anthony the cold shoulder. Only Sil (John Magaro) convinces Dickie to give it another shot. He tells his friend with a hairpiece to let his nephew know to meet him at Holsten’s. Of course, we see what happens. If Dickie didn’t blow Tony off that blustery night, he might have been the second victim. Of course, let’s come back to why Dickie was killed. Uncle June paid a cop to kill him for making a joke about him when he broke his back, slipping on some wet stairs outside of the church.
The final scene has Anthony looking down at his beloved Uncle Dickie in his wake. An open casket, of course. Anthony knows now he must follow in his Uncle’s footsteps. He imagines Dickie raising his hand while lying during his big sleep. Anthony reaches out his pinky with a ring around it. Tony offers his. Almost a pinky-swear between the generations of future Newark mobsters. Tony now knows he has to be a leader and lead the way Dickie Moltisanti did during his prime. Tony Soprano is now born.
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