DVD REVIEW: Gomorra

One stereotype that the film industry has had for a long time is that if you are going to make a gang-related film, its main focus should be on either 1) An Italian gang or 2) A gang whose rival is Italian. I am not saying that all gangster films are like this but a hefty number of them are. I am guessing that it originated with the success of the Godfather films (and history obviously) and grew from there. As entertaining as these films are, I was really looking for a movie with a fresher approach to the genre. Along came Gomorra, a film based upon a book about an actual Italian gang called the Comorra. I was immediately intrigued.

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Gomorra is set in Naples, Italy and tells five separate stories that eventually intertwine at some point in the film. First there is Don Ciro, a mousey looking middleman who distributes money among families of imprisoned gang members. The next is the tragic story of Totò, who is a 13-year-old boy who joins the above mentioned gang. His view on the importance of family, friends, and the gang become violently skewed after joining.

Next comes the story of Roberto, an excited and bright young man who is given the opportunity of working with a toxic waste management company (which happens to be funded by the Camorra without his knowledge). But after working with his boss Franco, he soon learns that the company he is working for cuts corners when it comes to properly disposing waste. The next story is of a garment factory tailor by the name of Pasquale. The factory he works at is also run by the gang and they are less than happy when they find out he is helping a competing Chinese factory get started.

The final and most tragic of the stories is that of Marco and Ciro, two zealous and out of control teens. They both are influenced by American gangster films, such as Scarface, and commit gang-like acts on their own, much to the dislike of local gang-leaders.

Gomorra was a gripping film, even though I believe some time editing could have been done. Instead of nice green fields and gorgeous marble architecture, we instead get a more disturbing look at modern Italy. The setting is the poverty-stricken underbelly of Naples, which will be a shock for some viewers of this film.

It is also quite a haunting film. In one scene, Marco and Ciro steal guns from another gang. They then proceed to strip down to their briefs and randomly fire the weapons across a local river, even blowing up a boat on the banks. This is just one of the disturbingly real feeling scenes in this film. Also notable in the film were the performances. They could have easily been over done but  many of them come out understated and natural.

As I stated before, Gomorra is a haunting film. It is hard to imagine a place so freely prevalent with violence. I believe that the lesson of this movie is that this kind of thing is not only happening in Italy…It is happening in our own backyards.

Verdict: SEE IT!

Got an opinion about this film? Leave your comments and thoughts below.

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