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Francesco Di Leva
"Gomorra" is a contemporary Neapolitan mob drama that exposes Italy's criminal underbelly by telling five stories of individuals who think they can make their own compact with Camorra, the area's Mafia. Written by
With everything into consideration, film is too well choreographed that it becomes as intimidating as the organization that it exposes.
Garners more respect than a spot on favorites list, "Gomorra" chronicles five seemingly disconnected stories with one thing in common: all are heavily influenced by a criminal organization run by the Camorras, an ominous mafia organization with a tight grip on Naples, Italy. Stylishly delivered, with extra kudos on editing and cinematography, Film will no doubt attract fans of the violent underworld, but might be disappointed by its verite approach, even if it perfectly captures reality, as such. Absolute antithesis to depiction from the American mafia, film is gritty and has zero entertainment value but in retrospect, picture was produced with such depressing intentions.
Multi plot film features more on characters attracted by the allure of the Camorras than the Camorras themselves. The five stories were plucked out from a novel by Roberto Saviano: the non-fiction that thrived on the best seller's list in Italy. Stories range from a coming of age teenager wanting to be identified with the mafia to a fresh university graduate looking for a promising vocation. Through varying levels of perspectives: from the violent eyed to the diplomatic, "Gomorra" stuns as it lists the organization's almost totalitarian control over the underbelly of Italy. It creates the impression of a country rotting from the inside out. With each story written by a different writer, what could have been an interconnection disaster is controlled well by director Matteo Garrone.
Ambitiously edited, fine balance between chaos and narrative is clearly defined by Marco Spoletini. First 40 minutes won't bode well for viewers looking for an easy diversion, as it is edited to confusion creating the illusion that the film started midway. Nonetheless, the stories do emerge, to great relief and from there on out, film would have established its style to a keen audience.
Cinematography, too is top notch. Marco Onorato paints Italy with a dull set of colors, resembling more of a third world purgatory rather than a honeymooner's travel brochure. Even Venice's bright reds and blues are muted with grey and brown with a hint of overexposure. Overall effect adds stupendously to the film as it gives it a sense of space and absolutely squashes any sense of hope an over-reader might derive.
Accuracy is greatly appreciated here. Film tries to blurry lines between dramatic film and documentary with impressive results. Details are all intact: dialogue is accurately more dialect derived, shooting locations seem extracted from a news clip and most thesping is done on dead-on accuracy by first timers.
With production values on stratospheric levels, film's overall intention is transparent: absolutely naught empathy is allowed, allowing audiences to soak in the moody atmosphere and simply co-exist with the protagonists clearly tested by circumstance. This will be its main predicament in garnering a more universal success as it asks a lot from an audience whose expectations might lean towards the slick of "Cidade de Deus".
With everything into consideration, film is too well choreographed that it becomes as intimidating as the organization that it exposes. Multiple plays won't be troublesome as every single detail here has a sense of subtext of tragedy unwilling to be diluted by repetition. However, might only be uncovered by fans willing to revisit.
Picture won the Grand Prize of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.
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