Organised crime clans fight wars and make fleeting alliances in the dynamic and ever-shifting underworld of the poverty-stricken Naples, Italy. Gennaro, the son and heir of the Savastano clan, and Ciro Di Marzio, one of this clan's officers, have great ambition to advance to ever-greater heights. The path ahead is bloody and cruel, and their families will be put at risk.Written by
At the end of each episode there is a music track which announces the end of that show and it's a hypnotic piece of music which alerts the viewer, not just to the end of the show, but that this drama goes on; the simple melody and beat makes that clear, and in the phrase that Kurt Vonnegut used in "Slaughterhouse 5" , which was 'so it goes', it is a sigh, a refrain for the madness of human action, and for the terrible waste of their lives.
This quality is exemplified too in the exteriors of the series: the Giorgio de Chirico exterior spaces, the dogs barking, the ugly 1960s architecture intended to make their lives better, but which is like a brutalist prison for them. No nice tree lined suburban streets for them. For the characters their daily drama is pointless and savage but its their only way to make something of the little they have.
To say this series is 'dark' is an understatement; it breathes the worst of human behavior, but the manner is not to exploit, instead it shows the extent of what people endure. In this sense it is akin to 'The Wire' and its journey through Baltimore's underworld.
To seek a character to 'root for' is to misjudge the value of drama: it is not a simple parable in which we can attach our aspirations to one character. If it was, Greek drama and Shakespeare, and much more besides, would have no value and most of the dross that mainstream TV and movies serve up would be the paragon of good writing. And it is not.
This series may seem to glorify the savagery but it does not: it makes it clear as to the losses suffered, the moral failures, and the social divisions exposed. In this way the writers have done great work as they have with the characters.
This series is quite remarkable in all the obvious production areas: it has a distinct look, the actors are all excellent without a miss, the casting choices have a reality too, and the dialect is a real pleasure too, though very hard to follow, it adds texture and depth.
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