Though no one ever utters the name in Matteo Garrone''s powerful and disturbing Gomorrah, the Roman director drags the dark deeds of the Camorra into the cold light of day (the mob is based primarily in Naples and Caserta). Inspired by co-writer Roberto Saviano''s explosive exposé, Garrone (The Embalmer) takes an observant, documentary-like approach to the Neapolitan Mafia and their not-so-covert infiltration into Italian society, from waste disposal to high fashion--with the US in their steely-eyed sights. Though the timeline is brief, a large cast creates the impression of an organized-crime epic on par with The Godfather or The Sopranos, but without a similar sense of style or glamour (since the film''s release, several of the non-professional actors have even gotten into trouble due to their real-life Camorra connections). Unlike those Italian-American predecessors, it also takes awhile to sort everyone out; once their identities become clear, the narrative picks up speed, with no direction for any of these characters to go but down into no-questions-asked conformity or ignominious death. Three of the five narrative strands revolve around a 13-year-old gangster wannabe (Salvatore Abruzzese), a decent dressmaker (Salvatore Cantalupo), and two delusional thugs (Ciro Petrone and Marco Macor), who look to Al Pacino''s Scarface for inspiration. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Gomorrah arrives in the States with the highest accolade an Italian movie can hope to receive: the imprimatur of Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, who knows a thing or two about thugs and wannabes. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah is a stark, shocking vision of contemporary gangsterdom, and one of cinema’s most authentic depictions of organized crime. In this tour de force adaptation of undercover Italian reporter Roberto Saviano’s best-selling exposé of Naples’ Mafia underworld (known as the Camorra), Garrone links five disparate tales in which men and children are caught up in a corrupt system that extends from the housing projects to the world of haute couture. Filmed with an exquisite detachment interrupted by bursts of violence, Gomorrah is a shattering, socially engaged true-crime story from a major new voice in Italian cinema.
Stills from Gomorrah
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