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Gomorra (2008) R 137min

March 10th, 2009 by Maxim · 4 Comments · 11,918 Views

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5/5

Gomorra” (English title “Gomorrah”) is a Golden Globe-nominated contemporary drama about mafia in Naples. Directed by Matteo Garrone, written by Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni Di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso and Roberto Saviano based on the book by Roberto Saviano.

The plot: Five stories of people from Naples, Italy, living in the world of corruption and crime, trying to co-exist with local mafia, Camorra.

From the very first opening sequence the mood of the movie is set. Some shady characters are being assassinated at a solarium where they were enjoying themselves and feeling on top of the world. Then camera begins to follow a local boy who delivers groceries from his mother’s shop. He works for tips. There are no jobs for him in Naples, and he dreams of being accepted into the mob so he can be respected and feared. The mob is extremely powerful – people are trying to leave the town in search of jobs and freedom from fear of the mafia. The whole neighborhood looks like Lebanon after the war – a scenery of decay and abandonment. The war is still going on: police and carabineri are trying to root out mafia but are utterly outgunned and outnumbered. Local economy is paralyzed by corruption, poverty, drug wars, debt and mafia. Everybody is in debt to the mob. Mobsters recruit boys from the street.

The good: It’s a very realistic movie. It shows the life in a society that is so paralyzed by corruption and crime that everything that exists in there is rotting. Crumbling infrastructure, everybody is on mafia’s payroll or pays to mafia. Great five stories, beautifully told. A lot of characters to root for. I liked very much how the camera was following every character in [comfortably] close-up shots – it creates the feeling that the audience is there in the movie together with the characters and almost see the world through their eyes or as if they invited us into their lives. I liked the two boys who steal some guns from the mobsters and imagine that they can have their own start-up – own mob. They don’t get far though. Another great character was the tailor who makes a secret deal with a Chinese sweatshop to train them to make knock-off dresses. Mobsters didn’t like it either. There’s also an “accountant”, who brings people payroll money from the mob or collects money from them. He doesn’t need protection because everybody knows he is untouchable. Another couple of characters are making money illegally dumping toxic chemicals that factories normally have to pay a lot of money to dispose of – in poor neighborhoods. One of them made peace with it, another one is disgusted and doesn’t accept this way of making a living.

The acting is superb – adult and child actors. Fantastic cinematography and camera work by Marco Onorato and editing by Marco Spoletini. Another thing that I liked a lot was that there was no music in the movie. To be precise, there was no soundtrack – only ambient music – it would play in a car radio, or TV. Also, there are many scenes that begin with close-up shots of people counting stacks of money, yet everyone lives in poverty. It’s ironic that even mafia, who have more money then people they rob, doesn’t live much better then their slaves. They are just parasides, a virus, and a virus can’t thrive if the host body is barely alive.

Interesting to note that a lot of actors share their first name with their characters.

The bad: The movie is rather depressing. It’s not your typical Hollywood ending. There’s no signs of hope here. Everybody is a slave to the debt and fear. Total decay. Children, who usually represent future, will eventually end up in debt and/or service to the mob, racketeering, dealing drugs or in prostitution.

The summary: a realistic drama about mafia and people affected by it, set in contemporary Naples, Italy.

The cast: Totò – Salvatore Abruzzese | Simone – Simone Sacchettino | Pasquale – Salvatore Cantalupo | Boxer – Salvatore Ruocco | Pitbull – Vincenzo Fabricino | Gaetano – VincenzoAltamura | Italo – Italo Renda | Don Ciro – Gianfelice Imparato | Maria – Maria Nazionale | Don Carlo – Carlo Del Sorbo | Franco – Toni Servillo | Roberto – Carmine Paternoster | Responsabile – Salvatore Caruso | Moglie di Pasquale – Manuela Lo Sicco | Giovanni – Giovanni Venosa | Pirata – Vittorio Russo

The crew: Director – Matteo Garrone | Writers – Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni Di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso, Roberto Saviano | Producers – Domenico Procacci , Laura Paolucci | Cinematography – Marco Onorato | Editing – Marco Spoletini | Fandango | RAI Cinema

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Rated 5/5 on Mar 10 2009
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Tags: Crime/Gangster · Cult Films · DVD · Drama · Foreign · Italy · Movies

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Maxim // Mar 11, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    You are right, I messed up. I’ll correct it. Funny that I tagged it properly. I actually was in both Milan and Naples… That’s what happens when one stays up all night :)

    Did you like the review though? You don’t have to agree with my opinion on the movie, but do you think it’s a quality review?

  • 2 Andy // Mar 11, 2009 at 5:13 am

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    Umm. It’s not set in Milan at all. In fact, it’s nowhere near Milan. It’s set in a suburb of Naples which is about as far from Milan as Aberdeen to London – and a completely different environment and type of inhabitant.

    I agree, it is a great film though!

  • 3 Maxim // Mar 11, 2009 at 10:08 am

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    You are right, I messed up. I’ll correct it. Funny that I tagged it properly. I actually was in both Milan and Naples… That’s what happens when one stays up all night :)

    Did you like the review though? You don’t have to agree with my opinion on the movie, but do you think it’s a quality review?

  • 4 Andy // Mar 15, 2009 at 2:28 am

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    Hi Maxim,
    Yes, the review was pretty spot on.

  • 5 Jerry // May 3, 2009 at 10:26 am

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    This is NOT the Godfather, it moves more like a documentary, it is French/European style and I found it a bit confusing, a bit long, and, like most French movies I’ve seen (even though it’s Italian) I was glad when it was finally over and like most French movies, the ending is as ambiguous as you can imagine. Give me the Sopranos any day.

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