THE STORY: In this tour de force adaptation of undercover Italian reporter Roberto Saviano’s best-selling exposé of Naples’ Mafia underworld (known as the Camorra), director Matteo Garrone links five disparate tales in which men and children are caught up in a corrupt system that extends from the housing projects to the world of haute couture. (via Criterion)
THE WORD: Growing up in an Italian family, my father always told me - jokingly, mind you - that an Italian man’s rite of passage was watching the Godfather Trilogy (the third being optional). As a young “man”, I fell in love with Godfather 1 & 2. I found them to be the most enticing and exciting mafia dramas to have ever been made. Then I saw Gomorra. Since I had first seen the Godfather films, my taste had changed dramatically. I evolved from Tarantino, Spielberg, and Burton to Godard, Ray, and Grandrieux. Rather than being sucked in by high production value and big stars, I was more interested in the dry action; the actualities of life you might say. I appreciate movies and I appreciate films. The Godfather Trilogy is a collection of movies while Gomorra is a film. The difference between the two laying within the films’ pace, photography, and realism. Viewing Godfather, there is the unbreakable fourth wall; the invisible layer between man and movie. However, within Gomorra, there is a certain gritty realism attributed to the events in such a way that eventually you feel like a bystander. An innocent, forced to watch the gruesome crimes of the Camorra. We watch, unable to do anything about the men in the film slowly being sucked in deeper by the organization. It’s an exciting film experience. With not much left to say, I feel Italians alike will lash at me for this, but The Godfather series has been replaced. Gomorra is the ultimate depiction of the mafia. An epic mosaic of crime; one of the decade’s best.
THE VERDICT: 92/100
INFO: Matteo Garrone | 2008 | Italy | 2.35:1 | 137min