Directed by Matteo Garrone
Gomorrah is a 2008 mafia realism film concerning the dealings of the Camorra, an Italian criminal syndicate analogous to the Mafia in Sicily. The film intertwines five separate stories to illustrate the manner in which the Camorra affect the lives of various individuals as a allegory, of sorts, for the current lack of structure and security within Italian society.
The film opens in Italian, which is not a preferred cinematic language, in my eyes; however, Martin Scorsese’s name drop, near the end of the opening credits, brought about a sense of great hope for this film. The film introduces the characters slowly, so to build background information, in true Scorsese fashion: reminiscent of The Departed.
Through the progression of the film, however, the stories appeared to play off one another, rather than merge together. This is the great folly of the film, which led me to wonder what part Scorsese played in its development. A search revealed that he was merely the “USA Presenter” and had little to do with the film itself.
The flaws became more evident as my expectations were greatly lowered. While the story is both complex and interesting, it lacks a sense of closure. This could have been intentional to illustrate that the Camorra is a relevant and ongoing issue; however, it results in a lack of emotional commitment by the audience.
While the film employs gritty realism masterfully, it fails to excel in any other attribute. Any tension built from the realism is quickly dispersed by the alienated lives of the characters. Through the flaws, the film does convey its point of the harsh reality of modern Italian life, which is disturbing enough.