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July 9, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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Once Upon A Time in America

Benzylpiperazine (BZP) has become the latest victim to the moral panic of politicians who seem to be addicted to banning things. This represents the best solution that Parliament can come with for dealing with the social problems in New Zealand, banning a drug that has only done a fraction of the damage the alcohol and tobacco have. Also banning something people want has never worked and can have unintended consequences. Once Upon a Time in America is about one of those consequences.

This is the tale of a small group of New York City prohibition-era Jewish gangsters. Using flashbacks and flash-forwards, the movie follows David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson (Robert De Niro), a small-time hood, and his lifelong partners in crime, Max, Cockeye and Patsy. We see their childhood, growing up in the rough Jewish neighbourhoods of New York’s lower East side in the 1920s, to the last years of prohibition in the early 1930s where they made a fortune bootlegging. The last part of the film is set in the 1960s where an elderly Noodles returns to New York after many years in hiding to look into the past.

Leone’s beautiful vision met with an epic story to create one of the most beautiful movies of all time. It is a powerful film which blurs the line between criminal and capitalist. It’s not an easy film to watch, (almost four hours long) but it’s very rewarding.


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