Monday, June 7, 2010

Once Upon a Time in America (1984. USA)

“It was Sergio Leone’s last film so he put in everything that ever was” someone said. I agree. AMERICA is the epicness of epic (some would say overstuffed) – charting the life of a gang of hoodlums (led by Robert Deniro) over three distinct periods in their life: Childhood, young adulthood and old age. Even with two parts of the tale led being led by a stone faced Robert Deniro as Noodles and a surprisingly subdued James Woods as his best friend, the strongest section of the picture proves to be the ones that feature the childhood actors. There’s more going on in the earlier parts of the story, than the slow moving later parts, so the picture has a tendency to pop with events and energy. Sergio Leone (Famed master of Eastwood’s ‘Dollars’ trilogy) may have paced things out deliberately, but the patient will never get bored. The master filmmaker does so much with camera moves, framing, editing and music (An absolute classic score by Ennio Moriconne) that the delights just keep on going. Originally trimmed of an hour and a half, the un-cut (well, as much as its going to get) version works masterfully with the surreal intercutting between all the different time periods, and juggles the story well as a minor who-dun-it. It’s a classic film that everyone should see at least once.

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