Gomorrah Review – Gorgeous Dance of Violence

(Thanks to Sanewar and Lucifersam for recommending Gomorrah) 

Gomorrah (Italian) takes the gangster/Mafia genre of movies to an entirely new level.

If Godfather, Scarface and even Cidade de Deus (City of God) glorified the criminals, put them up on a pedestal and made them seem almost godly despite their violence, Gomorrah knocks them off their high perch and brings the hoodlums and dregs of society down to earth.

Shows the violent criminals for what they are – plain scum.

Based on Roberto Saviano’s bestselling expose of the Cammora criminal organization in Naples and brilliantly directed by Matteo Garrone, Gomorrah presents a violence that’s so raw, so realistic and so absent of any sugercoating.

Bereft of routine cinematic exaggeration and shorn of the romantic vision of guns blazing violently, Gomorrah is the finest exemplar of the crime genre in the last 25 years.

Some members of the audience may even be repelled by the matter of fact banality to the violence. But such is life in present-day Naples (for all you schmucks ignorant of geography, Naples is in Italy).

Unlike in Godfather or Scarface, there are no happy moments in Gomorrah. It’s almost as if the movie has vowed not to entertain you but actually does so immensely.

Given the Cammora’s tentacles into every walk of life and touching every class of society, the violence, the corruption, the drugs, the betrayal, the distrust and its twin brother fear are forever overground not lurking below the surface.

Gomorrah showcases brilliantly the collapse of civic society in the Naples region through five separate stories, whose only connection is that they are all connected to crime in some way:

* Pasquale – A haute couture tailor for a Gomorrah business, Pasquale gets dragged into a violent attack when he helps a Chinese businessman to make the same fashion apparel

* Young Toto – Son of a small grocery-store owner, the young kid’s initiation into crime happens soon after he finds and returns a gun and drugs when the police bust some gang members

* Roberto and his boss Franco – The two are involved in illegally dumping toxic waste for businesses in a quarry until Roberto gets sick of the job and elects to leave much to Franco’s immense anger

* Marco and Circo – Two itchy-fingered young hoodlums whose days are numbered when they steal a stash of weapons

* Don Ciro – A low-level functionary in the criminal organization, whose job is to distribute money to the family members of those in jail

Although the stories are separate, the overarching violence and picture of a society that’s completely collapsed into corruption and violence weaves the different strands into an enticing whole.

Triple Delight
Gomorrah offers a triple treat to viewers – the story is intensely gripping, the acting of every member immensely fetching and the photography seductively arresting.

In a movie that impresses from the first frame to the last, how do you pick one or two or even a few impressive sequences. Really hard.

Is it the scene in the abandoned building where the young hoodlums Marco and Circo play Tony Montana from Scarface, or is it Toto’s betrayal of Maria or is it the scene of Franco employing a gaggle of children to drive dump trucks full of toxic waste or is it Pasquale telling his wife proudly how the Chinese workers referred to him as Maestro. Or is it the sight of Don Ciro walking away in fear in his blood-splattered dress after his associates are killed and the money robbed. Or maybe it’s the picture of Marco and Circo going beserk with their guns on a deserted beach.

Or is it the young hoodlum yelling:

Let’s move. I have to shoot. I can’t stand not shooting.

Embarrassment of Riches
Truly, Gomorrah is an embarras de richesse for connoiseurs of fine movies. 

Gomorrah opens with a bloody murder in a tanning salon and ends with the violent end of the two young hoodlums lured to their death by a false promise.

To borrow a phrase from the movie, with corruption and violence sparing none everyone is meat for the slaughterhouse in Naples sooner rather than later.

Gomorrah won the Gran Prix at the Cannes Film Festival 2008.

SearchIndia.com strongly recommends Gomorrah. It’s currently running in limited theaters in the U.S.

9 Responses to "Gomorrah Review – Gorgeous Dance of Violence"

  1. the gora   March 7, 2009 at 12:49 am

    There’s a phrase that Paulie uses in The Sopranos whenever he is pissed off at someone from time to time, “Va fa Napoli.” The literal translation is, “Go to Napoli.” But the generally accepted slang translation is, “Go to hell.”

    I always figured Naples must be a total shithole. I’ve read some random stories from The Economist in the last few years that say as much and that the mob is out of control there. But it sounds like it really rings true in Gomorrah.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Yes, Camorra (the mob) is completely out of control in the Naples region. Apparently, the Camorra is organized on a horizontal basis, which makes it difficult to rein in the violence even if some leaders are arrested (Source: Wiki).

    2. We plan to read Saviano’s book shortly for a better understanding of the Camorra.

    Like our Salman Rushdie (who was in hiding for nearly two decades after Khomeini’s fatwa), Saviano lives in hiding and is under 24-hr police-protection.

  2. Vivek   March 7, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Havent u watched abhiyum naanum (from the director of mozhi). If yes when is the review coming.It is a touchy tale of a father and his daughter.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, we did not watch Abhiyum Naanum. Trisha can’t act.

    We watched Mozhi and liked it.

  3. sanewar   March 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

    gomorrah is a nice and engaging movie. But nowadays these gangster movies are becoming more and more similar ( i mean about the tone, multiple layers and non linearity in screenplay) eg. pulp fiction, city of god, amores perros, gomorrah and even slumdog millionaire to some extent, i am trying to see more of comedy genre.

    BTW, you should view some david llynch, some time before i was obsessed with his surreal movies such as eraserhead, mulholland drive, blue velvet, lost highway and recently inland empire, all are quite disturbing movies, and they are not recommended for family viewing also. Still no review for “13 Tzameti” and “Requiem for a dream”

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    13 Tzameti review coming (hopefully soon). Lovely film.

  4. sumeshy   March 10, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Did you watch Watchmen? I am waiting for a review on it. Also see god of cookery – nice comedy. worth watching once. This was done by Stephen chow (kung fu hustle, shaolin soccer, etc)

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, we did not watch WatchmenGomorrah was the last in a theatre.

  5. IAmAnIdiot   March 10, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    The Desis are your customer base…they don’t need a review for gomorrah… all they look for review for Hindi/Tamil/Telugu movie…Reviews on Local restaurants and reviews on Grocery Stores etc.

    Lately we see some great real live journalism by bring the Tadka/Chola horrer stories from Heath Deparment. Good. Why we don’t come up reviews on Indian Grocery gianst (Dana Bazar, Patel, Subzi Mandi, Bhavai) first then tiny indian grocery stores. There is lot of scope to improve your site…Deliver the right product in right market.. Gomorroh is a Dump Flop!

    After 12 weeks from the release in US, Gomorroh has collected just 0.6 million!!! But you trying to talk like 500 million Dark Knight or 100 Million Slum Dog!


    Deliver to your customer interests and not to your interests!!!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Gomorrah is an outstanding movie.

    Are you aware that Gomorrah gets a very high 89% approval from the critics of the same Rotten Tomatoes site that you cite above.

    The Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: ‘Portraying organised crime with an unflinching realism, this gritty and searing Italian crime masterpiece pulls no punches.’

    It’s only when you watch Gomorrah that you understand how revoltingly ugly Indian movies like Villu, Aegan, Yuvvraaj and Drona are.

    2. You write: Deliver to your customer interests and not to your interests!!!

    We try to find a median between our interests and what we think SI readers would be interested in.

    Plus your interests may not always coincide with that of other readers.

    Remember, Gomorrah was recommended by two SI readers Sanewar and Lucifersam.

    3. We try to provide eclectic content here, not restricting ourselves to just Hindi or Tamil movies.

    Running the risk of stretching ourselves thin, we address Bollywood, Kollywood, Hollywood, Foreign Movies, Books, Current Events, Restaurant Reviews, Politics, Health, Digital Media et al.

  6. sumeshy   March 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Did anyone see Watchmen? Is it a gud one to go to?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We haven’t seen it. Not sure about others.

    64% on Tomatometer – not bad.

    Pl see http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/watchmen

  7. Amy آصف Dala   March 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    redbox has free wednesday – JBG123
    I picked up “Rachel Getting Married” (Hathaway’s Oscar nominated role).. Also wanted to pickup “Happy Go LuckY” (best original screenplay nominee)but don’t have time to watch it.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Going to Red Box now (8:40PM EST).

  8. sithlord   March 21, 2009 at 11:33 am

    ok.. i have been watching some tamil and hindi craps for the past few days.. and finally stumbled upon Gomorrah after Villu, Perumal, Kuruvi and Delhi…

    Really Gomorrah had been my saviour.. I would say even Sam Anderson’s Yaaruku Yaaro is pretty much better than the above mentioned hindi and tamil flicks (my foot)

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


    When did Gomorrah release in your city?

  9. sithlord   March 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I saw gomorrah in my comp.. yes of course this is illegal.. but still i was raring to watch the movie.. villu was a revelation.. shud be careful while going to watch a tamil movie these days..
    RECOMMENDED for those who want to commit suicide or for police who want to get info from a culprit

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