The Sopranos


I seem to have gone down the road of writing about a lot of gangster movies. My favourite film critic David Thompson has identified that there is something juvenile in American movies, gangster movies being the most juvenile of them all, we’re always being asked to fantasize about the criminal lifestyle.

The Sopranos isn’t a film, it’s TV. HBO. Ground breaking, and greater than many movies. The Sopranos finally also isn’t about being a gangster so much, as about some great Greek tragedy of family life.

I find myself watching the box set over and over again, like a piece of music or a favourite section of a Scott Fitzgerald novel. It’s rich like pasta sauce and more mature than many gangster stories told in film.

A lot of this is down to James Gandolfini and his immense and still growing performance, but I’d also like to mention the younger members of the cast. Tony’s son and daughter become older and sadder through the series, and it’s this that’s truly heartbreaking. I’m not sure that we ever truly make our mind up about Tony, but even that is interesting, and different.

Without giving away any spoilers a lot has been spoken about the ending of the series. I feel there may have been some interference with the process from HBO, but as it stands, I like how it ends, it would be too painful to end any other way.

So, 84 films to go!

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.