David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” is the gold standard for prequels to television shows. Lynch addressed the flaws in his two-season series, especially the fact that he directed only six of the thirty episodes, in that 1992 feature. He directed “Fire Walk with Me,” which was heavily and incorrectly condemned at the time of its release exactly because Lynch approached the same material that had been handled more traditionally in the TV series with radical subjectivity. He did more than just add to the plot; he broadened its imaginative horizons.
The creator of “The Sopranos,” David Chase, takes a different way to telling the coming-of-age story of young Tony Soprano in “The Many Saints of Newark,” a prequel film to “The Sopranos.” Chase co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Konner and entrusted the direction to Alan Taylor, a TV veteran who previously worked on “The Sopranos,” and it shows: far from finding a fresh take on a familiar story, “The Many Saints of Newark” (which opens Friday in theaters and on HBO Max) is more of the same jigsaw-puzzle dramas, with scenes that do little more than drop in information trimme. “The Sopranos” compensated for its reductive look with rich pattern over the course of six seasons. IMDB