Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Movie Review: Gomorra (2008)

So many excellent portraits exist of cold-blooded, reptilian killers, and organized crime that any pretender to this crowded genre faces a tough job dancing with the stars. Gomorra, in its Neapolitan detail, succeeds.

The five main characters involved with the Camorra of Naples, have all been young at one time, passionate about something, full of dreams of some sort. And at a point they are seduced by the devil's cash, thrills, power, or approval, and take that first small decision that becomes the inescapable trajectory of one's life. The movie rolls along in Neapolitan dialect, not even vaguely understandable as Italian, in gritty, smelly streets, alleys, sweatshops, dumps, parking garages, and bars. Believable, dark-humored characters make understandable though fatal decisions and become the same doomed souls you know from Fargo, from In Cold Blood, from Goodfellas, and from The Sopranos. They are poor, often pathetic, and all trapped.

Reviewers at IMDB who have read the Robert Saviano book seem to find the movie disappointing. However, not having read the book I feel Gomorra, standing on its own as a movie, adds yet another nuance to the copious canon of organized crime movies -- a slice of Italian life that is unsentimental, gritty, and grim -- very well done. I give Gomorra 8 out of 10 stars.

Gomorra at IMDB

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