An inside look at Italy's modern day crime families.
This foreign film with it's Italian subtitles was one I had read about while searching for lesser known films in this genre. I decided to give it a go after reading the positive reviews. Yes, it's one of those films you stumble upon then tell all of your friends about ASAP even though most of them won't find the film as appealing.
Gomorrah was initially released in Italy with a limited release worldwide, grossing only $34,861,000 but garnering BAFTA, Critics Choice and Golden Globe nominations for Best Foreign Language Film. while winning three Italian Golden Globes.
Salvatore Abruzzese as Toto
Simone Sacchettino as Simone
Salvatore Ruocco as Boxer
Vincenzo Fabricino as Pitbull
Vincenzo Altamura as Gaetano
Italo Renda as Italo
Francesco Pirozzi as Michele
DIRECTOR: Mateo Garrone
While the film follows the lives of five different families their lives don't all intersect although they're all impacted in a negative way by Camorra, Italy's largest crime syndicate.
If you're used to, a fan of films where crime is glamorized and the gangsters walk around in $5,000 suits, sporting Rolexs while living like King's off of the proceeds of their criminal enterprises, you'll be disappointed. It's gritty, a tour of the slums of Naples. While the tourists flock to the cities nicely scrubbed, paved streets to their overpriced hotels, cruise ships dock for World travelers to experience Naples beautiful beaches and local culture we get a glimpse of what goes on in the back alley's, dilapidated housing as the forgotten, ignored try to survive under the thumb of Camorra. Either by force or for the need of approval. Every crime family has it's hierarchy although nobody is treated with any empathy or compassion. Take Goodfellas and turn it on it's head.
In the opening scene we see your typical tough guys in a salon getting their tan on, nails done.
Our tough guys take a break from busting heads and hustling.
Everyone's joking, having a good laugh. They all look pretty harmless while obviously over tanned.
The last thing this guy needs is a lamp or UV exposure of any kind.
Things quickly turn though as guns come out and we quickly see who the bad guys are as everyone in the salon is mowed down. Pretty sure the other guys were on their turf or equally as shady but who's to say this early. I'll give it the Scarface rating as far as violence for now.
The salon quickly turns into a blood bath. Five overly tan thugs down and a few dozen to go.
Still reeling from the opening scene we go to a couple of teen boys, Marco and Ciro who roam around the slums scheming, looking for a way to make some quick cash, get some street cred while clashing with their parents who are just trying to keep food on the table and their kids from falling through the cracks.
"Naples youth, out trying to turn a buck and stay alive in the slums."
They look as tired and broken as the shacks they call home. I find myself rooting for them but I get the feeling this won't end well.
It's time to shakedown the locals. This apartment is actually pretty nice considering everything else we've seen so far.
We go to a couple of college graduates who find themselves trying to work their way up the Camorra ranks. They make their money by disposing of the city's toxic waste by dumping it onto the outskirts of Naples. While most crime syndicates leave casualties in their wake its kept within the confines of the criminals, not so in this instance and I find this the most disturbing. No guns or brutality, just exposure of cancer to innocent victims.
The outskirts of Naples where toxic waste dumps are the norm and only the brave or desperate wander about. It looks more like Chernobyl than a tourist destination.
We get a glimpse into the life of a struggling designer who uses sweat shops to get his clothing made. Camorra has its hand print on it so instead of a feel good story we're jerked back into the reality of how desperate everyone is. Nobody gets a break here regardless of how hard they try to pull themselves up out of poverty. I really don't want to give much of the plot away or even get into how brutal the 'top tier' Mafiosos are. They're fat slobs who oversee their little kingdom. We get a few more gun battles over turf, our teens on a downward spiral, the smart college kids using their chemical knowledge to reek havoc on their community. The dumping of waste never stops, the violence escalates and we get a few confusing scenes before winding our way back to the slobs and their total lack of compassion for who's lives they're destroying.
Our college graduates use their chemical knowledge to sludge through manure for fertilizer. Luckily they aren't making bombs although dumping toxic waste to line their pockets is bad enough.
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