Directed by: Matteo Garrone
Written by: Maurizio Braucci (screenplay),Roberto Saviano (book)
Starring: Toni Servillo, Marco Macor, Ciro Petrone, and Salvatore Abruzzese
I try not let the reputation of a movie influence me before I watch it, but in the case of Gomarrah, it’s hard not to. Hailed by many critics as a new masterpiece in the gangster genre and presented by Martin Scorsese, Matteo Garrone’s film had a lot to live up to. For many it seems to have done that, but as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t live up to the tremendous hype garnered by those accolades. To be fair, though, it’s still an enjoyable film that deserves a viewing.
The explosive novel of the same name by Roberto Saviano tore open the modern world of organized crime in Naples, forcing the author to go into exile to escape the wrath of the Camorra crime syndicate. In a book that was unafraid to name names even in the face of death, a Hollywood adaptation just wouldn’t seem right.
Mr. Garrone has given the film a perfect visual look, visceral and gritty with moments of cinematic eloquence. We see a young boy (Salvatore Abruzzese) watch a man be hauled off by the authorities in almost documentary-realism. Then the boy spots what the man claimed to not have, a gun and some narcotics. He journeys to it, the camera giving a striking long shot that tracks him to the vices. The shot makes the boy’s world look eloquent, like the gangster worlds created in movies like The Godfather and Scarface. We see the corruption of a soul, in two blending styles.