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
Power, money and blood: these are the “values” that the residents of the Province of Caserta, between the cities of Aversa and Casal di Principe, have to face every day. They hardly ever have a choice, and are almost always forced to obey the rules of the “system”, the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a “normal” life. Five stories are woven together in this violent scenario, set in a cruel and apparently imaginary world, but one which is deeply rooted in reality. Don Ciro is “il sottomarino”. He pays the families of the prisoners that are affiliated with his clan, a clan that has the undisputed command of the territory. He is sharp, discreet and carries out his job without getting involved. But at a certain point the clan begins to crumble. Unsure who to take orders from, he has to think of his own survival. Totò is 13 years old and can’t wait to “grow-up”. So he begins his training in the school of life, step after step, until one day he has to make a decision, an irreversible choice. Marco and Ciro think they are living in a film by Brian de Palma, but in the eyes of the “system” they are only two stray dogs whose acts of bravado are disturbing the routine of business. Roberto is a graduate and wants to work. Franco offers him a great opportunity, a steady job with good earning prospects: a job in the field of toxic waste management. But the job is too disturbing for Roberto’s conscience. Pasquale is a talented tailor who works under the table for a small enterprise subcontracted by the high fashion clothes industries. Chinese competitors give him the opportunity to teach the secrets of his trade to their workers. He is seduced and gratified by the opportunity, accepts and puts his life in danger.
«On ne partage pas un empire d’une poignée de main, on le découpe au couteau. » Cet empire c’est Naples et la Campanie. Gomorrhe aux mains de la Camorra. Là-bas, une seule loi : la violence. Un seul langage : les armes. Un seul rêve : le pouvoir. Une seule ivresse : le sang. Nous assistons à quelques jours de la vie des habitants de ce monde impitoyable. Fresque brutale et violente, GOMORRA décrit avec une incroyable précision les cercles infernaux de la Camorra napolitaine pour mieux nous y entraîner.