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I saw this last month at the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Coming on the heels of the recent book Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano that was made into a successful film here is another look at the Naples based urban mob with a long history in Italy, Camorra. Fortapàsq is Italian slang for an American phrase, Fort Apache, in it's meaning of under siege. Written by writer/director Marco Risi with Jim Carrington and Andrea Purgatori this is a true story based on investigative reporter Giancarlo Siani (Liberto De Rienzo), a young journalist who in 1985 digs too deep into the workings of the Camorra and its political ties. His reporting for a small local newspaper on the rival warfare of Camorra families leads to national recognition a a job for a big city newspaper. He continues his investigative series there and which leads him into real trouble. A good cast with great supporting roles from Ernesto Mahieux as Siani's friend and co-worker and Massimiliano as a Camorra mobster who has been selected to eventually become the mobs main Don. This is a good film for a general audience as it plays kind of like a made-for TV movie but I would recommend it and give it a 7.0 out of 10.
Fort Apache made his way to this year's Rabat Auteur cinema Festival
and received wide acclaim even standing ovation from the critics
attending the screening, it didn't take me long to realize the reason :
none of the audience watched the remarkable "Gomorrah" released in
2008! The movie tells one more time the struggle of Italian society to
suppress and eradicate a very strong powerful organized mafia called
"the Gomorrah" , this time through the struggle of a brave journalist
called Giancarlo Siani (played by a relatively new comer Libero De
Rienzo) who got himself tangled in a clash against organized crime in
his hometown and had to pay in blood for his journalistic efforts to
uncover the truth.
The case here is that this form of Italian organized crime has been treated countless times by a myriad of filmmakers and in different styles for the last five decades, and the fact that " Gomorrah" is the new form of the old mafia doesn't really cast a new light on the matter.
The only innovative treatment to visit this genre was already done in 2008 "Gomorrah" that ,through episodic storytelling, filmed the whole thing as a war reportage and showed very efficient techniques to catch modern audience' interest.
The writer and director of Fort apache both seemed to ignore all these facts, and still managed to come with this tedious effort that never shows key elements of the Siani war against crime, tries to force sympathy for the journalist's personal life through unexplained scenes of love and friendship that never establish a bond to the main narrative. Add to this a very ineffective way of using the voice over technique, the use of humor to lighten the story in some passages but unsteady it spoils the effect,non-convincing supporting performances,the name of a Siani article 'fort apache' ( a reference to the john ford's movie)is not cleverly revealed,over-the-edge depiction of the mob meetings and arrest scenes that delves unintentionally into caricaturization of the crime genre.etc.
Overall, if you're interested in a genuine Italian modern crime movie, pass this one in favor of "Gomorrah" and let's hope we don't get any more of these flicks filled with blood, south-Italian accents and gun-blazing machos in underpants!
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