Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America ★★½

Some great moments but so disappointing. I snagged the extended director’s cut on eBay and watched it over 2 nights. Looks great, and Morricone’s score is fantastic (lotta flutes, though), and I loved Elizabeth McGovern’s performance. The rest of it, well...

I don’t have a lot of specific criticisms tonight, just a general indifference to this attempt at turning a crime epic into a soap opera — or is that the other way around? Hated the “reveal” at the end, and I don’t know why Leone’s direction to his actors was “lethargic” but I could’ve done with some more enthusiasm from the cast. And James Woods obviously sucks (both in this movie and in real life). 

Looks great, of course, and I loved a lot of little moments, especially when they’re all kids. Seeing their bonds grow early on, and what they’re willing to do for each other, is the kind of stuff I expected and came here for. Aiello and Pesci shine in their scenes but they’re too brief overall. Nice to see Jennifer Connelly even though I continue to worry about what happened to her in the 80s. 

I dunno. I own it now so I’ll probably watch it again at some point. Check back in with me in 8-12 years.

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