Gomorrah

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Posted February 12, 2009 in Film

In America, we group all Italian mobsters together . . . but in Italy, there’s the Mafia and the Camorra. The Camorra, a mainland gang originating in Naples, hasn’t enjoyed the flashy and frightening public reputation of their rivals.Writer Roberto Saviano’s 2006 nonfiction exposé Gomorah earned him awards and death threats. As a movie directed by Matteo Garrone, it’s both familiar and not: a multi-threaded, ill-fated narrative that hits familiar points through unique characters like a quavering accountant, a talented couture tailor, a toxic waste specialist, and a pair of stupidly brave teenage toughs who swipe the Camorra’s guns and shoot them off in their underpants. As even-toned as a documentary, it plays like the Short Cuts of Sicily; for much of the running time, we’re not sure who we’re watching or why, but by the bloody end we’re caught in Garrone’s web of violent fools. From the start, we know everyone is doomed—the genre precludes happiness—making this long and slowly absorbing film a study of deadly destiny for a town choked by organized crime, and for the Camorra holding the noose. 

 


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