Gomorrah (15)

Film

Drama

698.film.x600.gomorrah.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Oct 7 2008

The wordplay of the original Italian title, ‘Gomorra’, is a little lost in translation – the camorra is Naples’s crime network, while Gomorrah was the Old Testament citadel of sin – but that removes nothing of the power, pleasure and journalistic nouse of this unglamorous, violent film which won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes.

Unusually – and refreshingly – for a mafia film, Garrone adopts a bottom-up perspective. It’s also a youthful one: most of his main players are on the cusp of adulthood. There’s serious-minded Totò, barely a teen, for whom maturity is arriving fast. In another world, Totò would have a paper round; in this one, he’s training to be a drug dealer. There’s the slightly older, keen Roberto, hired in bad faith by Franco, who trades in the disposal of toxic waste (a performance of Teflon charm from Toni Servillo). Less sympathetic but equally tragic are Marco and Ciro, two hotheads obsessed with De Palma’s ‘Scarface’ (allowing Garrone to stick two fingers up to Hollywood’s idea of the mob).

It’s not all about kids: factory manager Pasquale comes to regret moonlighting for a Chinese rival, while ageing stooge Don Ciro struggles to remain a faceless mafia bureaucrat.

What 39-year-old Matteo Garrone has done is take a sprawling, heavily researched novel about the web of Neapolitan crime by young writer Roberto Saviano (now under police protection) and turn it into a more focused, multi-stranded drama about how ordinary lives and ambitions are impinged upon in a society where the parameters of business, justice and everyday life are heavily defined and warped by the influence of organised crime.

He tells all this with an unfussy style, with a documentarist’s eye for the authentic, both for people or places, and a dramatist’s urge for the tragic and the universal. Such is the speed of the storytelling and its complexity that relationships and events are sometimes as muddled as our understanding of them, yet that’s the welcome price of rejecting over-simplification and distortion.

Garrone shot his film in the area that he depicts. You couldn’t fake those locations (a crumbling housing estate that looks like a grand cruiseliner after a naval battle; a marshy, ghostly coastline) or the tough, leathery peasant faces of some of the film’s supporting hoodlums.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Oct 10, 2008

Duration:

137 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|37
1 person listening
tony

it feels like something that Danny Dyer wold be in running around a council estate somewhere in London's ghettos

Max

Atrocious. Could barely remain awake through it. The camera work is dire, it looks, for the most part, like someone filming with a handheld, following the actions. Minutes can go by without the angle changing. It was simply dire.

Lizzie

This movie hardly glamorises Mafia life!! It's raw, sad and eye-opening. I never felt like I was watching actors... it's SO REAL! Incredible performances. I'd like to know how Matteo, the director, directed them and whether they stuck to the screenplay or ad-libbed. The movie never felt too long as the actors, different stories and director masterfully built the films momentum. BRAVO!

Lizzie

This movie hardly glamorises Mafia life!! It's raw, sad and eye-opening. I never felt like I was watching actors... it's SO REAL! Incredible performances. I'd like to know how Matteo, the director, directed them and whether they stuck to the screenplay or ad-libbed. The movie never felt too long as the actors, different stories and director masterfully built the films momentum. BRAVO!

Born2taste

I love this movie. I saw it in France, and thought that a movie like this needs to be brought into discussion group and the problems that are going on in Italy.

Born2taste

I love this movie. I saw it in France, and thought that a movie like this needs to be brought into discussion group and the problems that are going on in Italy.

thiefhunter

Easy to think that Naples and the Camorra are far away and have nothing to do with us. Yet, any visitor to Europe is likely to pass through Naples, gateway to Pompei, the fabulous Amalfi Coast, and Capri. Take a train from Rome to Naples, then a tram from the Naples train station to the ferry boats. You'll already have rubbed shoulders with Camorra underlings, and may or may not still have your wallet. I research street crime in Naples (and elsewhere). It took quite a few dangerous years before I realized the risks of snooping around in Camorra business. http://bobarno.com/thiefhunters/2009/02/camorra/

thiefhunter

Easy to think that Naples and the Camorra are far away and have nothing to do with us. Yet, any visitor to Europe is likely to pass through Naples, gateway to Pompei, the fabulous Amalfi Coast, and Capri. Take a train from Rome to Naples, then a tram from the Naples train station to the ferry boats. You'll already have rubbed shoulders with Camorra underlings, and may or may not still have your wallet. I research street crime in Naples (and elsewhere). It took quite a few dangerous years before I realized the risks of snooping around in Camorra business. http://bobarno.com/thiefhunters/2009/02/camorra/

ce

A film made to get the viewers to wake up, understand and avoid falling into the trap of the standard romantic mafia stories. These guys are nothing to look up to, just a bunch of losers living only on simple fear factors. To be extinguished!

ce

A film made to get the viewers to wake up, understand and avoid falling into the trap of the standard romantic mafia stories. These guys are nothing to look up to, just a bunch of losers living only on simple fear factors. To be extinguished!

Jack

As a fan of mafia films I do rate this film but perhaps not as highly as most critics. The documentary style camera work makes for tense viewing but it loses its affect before the film is half way through. The constant flicking between too many story lines leaves us unable to really feel for any of thechracters or become engaged with any of the plots. It's certainly tragically realistic and the gun shots sound more harrowing than on any gangster film yet, but it certainly could have been better had it cut out one of the story lines and shaved twenty minutes off its running time.

NickL

I thought this was an excellent film. I found the subject matter absolutely riveting, the acting was superb and I felt the film actually said something without coming across as self-righteous or pretentious. It was a little long and slightly rough around the edges, but to be honest if you were only watching this to see if it worked as a nice neat story or conventional 'gangster' pic, I think you're missing the point of the film. I personally felt that the narrative was very well constructed, with a sense of dread permeating through it and some very well constructed set pieces and I really engaged with the plight of the characters in the film, mainly because the actors were so good. Some great cinematography too. Nice to see a film which actually has the balls to try and say something. More social commentary than your usual popcorn fodder, which I don't think is a bad thing.

NickL

I thought this was an excellent film. I found the subject matter absolutely riveting, the acting was superb and I felt the film actually said something without coming across as self-righteous or pretentious. It was a little long and slightly rough around the edges, but to be honest if you were only watching this to see if it worked as a nice neat story or conventional 'gangster' pic, I think you're missing the point of the film. I personally felt that the narrative was very well constructed, with a sense of dread permeating through it and some very well constructed set pieces and I really engaged with the plight of the characters in the film, mainly because the actors were so good. Some great cinematography too. Nice to see a film which actually has the balls to try and say something. More social commentary than your usual popcorn fodder, which I don't think is a bad thing.

Tony

I can't believe anyone would not find this film amazing. Gripping from the start to the end.

Tony

I can't believe anyone would not find this film amazing. Gripping from the start to the end.

Stephen

By a very long way the worst film I have seen in years. Utterly tedious, dreary and pointless. Like some other reviewers we gave up after about an hour. In the lighter scenes, I was able to see other members of the audience quietly napping away. Obviously they were as moved by the film as we were. I simply cannot imagine how people would find this wandering, aimless and sprawling mess a masterpiece. From the opening scene we were expected tense, thrilling, crime-driven drama. What did we get? An old guy mopping a floor; someone looking at whether to store waste in a quarry and some kids messing about in the dark. Utterly tedious.

critique

Ultra-realistic and near-documentary in style, this is interesting and moving in places but is hard to engage in as entertainment.

papillon

An interesting "docu-drama" but nothing more. I did not understand waht the hype was about. The film is too long at times. The book is much better!

usman khawaja

iTALIAN HOME-MADE GODFATHERS &GANGSTERS After a load of hype i have seen it finally and it is very much a realist or even neo-realist docu-drama, It almost crawls rather than runS and it is overcrowded with characters and dialogue,most of which i assumed was not in the subtitles as i could hear them persistently talk with nothing to read, If being great cinema means you have no character development with an overcrowded script and multiple strands as well as some incomprehensible plot twists-then this qualifies but if you prefer [like me] ordinary cinema like GODFATHER,ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA which according to critics are stylised,over glamourous glorification of violence than you will be a touch disappointed. anyway the acting is terrific and the camerawork is as stylised as salaam bombay or city of god as are all the kids and drug dealers plus the corrupt mafia who are all family men like corleones . but since it won at Cannes it has to be much more special then any other mafia epic as it is a brutally real look at european gangster monsters while Taken and American gangster were ALL about homely elves and fairies . i really fail to get the logic of how shooting a movie in a dingy real location with no frills and a sparse musical score is great observation of human existence-but i am glad i saw it as it confirmed my belief that well made stylised cinema is far more powerful then realist or minimalist movie-making . i will take Coppolla anytime and as for italians i liked romanzo criminale more so -though garrone has a gritty movie here but hardly great . it could have done with better editing and some character development so when garrone despatched them off ,one could have felt a tinge of emotion -as it feels like watching a newsreel rather than a drama .i like realist cinema when it is innovative and moving rather than listless and limp -which part of this movie definitely conforms to -rather disappointing -i blame it on the critics for making it look much better than it really is

William

Doesn't deserve the rave reviews. Decent but not a great film. The plot is slow and goes no where. There is no solid narrative or plot like in 'city of god' a far superior film. There is no character development, and the film never devles into any emotion other than violence. Its is realistic and deserves credit for that, but as a film it is poor. Im shocked it has recieved so many favourable reviews. The biggest film dissapointment of the year for me. Some people put it in the scarface, godfather catorgary. Dont believe the hype....

Joe

This is the real thing, not your Hollywood type action gangster movie. The movie is based on accurate details on naples and Italian mafia world, it is a terrific and somewhat scary picture about what happens in this not-so underground world.

Joe

This is the real thing, not your Hollywood type action gangster movie. The movie is based on accurate details on naples and Italian mafia world, it is a terrific and somewhat scary picture about what happens in this not-so underground world.

Sutton

A worthy if tedious film, but it is way too long. Sure, it may reflect life in the underworld of Naples, but it does not warrant the rave reviews. The film is over long with disparate and unexplained/non connecting storylines. Several people walked out of the cinema and I should have done the same, but I felt it would lead somewhere... it didn't. It is a violent film which does not pass for entertainment.

Manassa

Frankly, I cannot understand how on earth anyone could find this film boring and dull, and it's quite depressing to read that at times this is the case. Not only an act of bravery: it's a stunning portrait of the all-round effects of organised crime in a 21st century society. Terrific achievement.

Manassa

Frankly, I cannot understand how on earth anyone could find this film boring and dull, and it's quite depressing to read that at times this is the case. Not only an act of bravery: it's a stunning portrait of the all-round effects of organised crime in a 21st century society. Terrific achievement.

Paul

Somers Town with guns and sub-titles, so don't go expecting The Sopranos or The WIre. I will be crossing Naples off my Easyjet list after seeing this film. A grim look at the other face of the EU and Italy's premium export business.

Nadia

This is a really new way of depicting the sprawling, pervasive and corrosive effect of the Mafia in Italy. In this respect the film has echoes of the TV series The Wire although it is not as viewer friendly. Here the director has favoured realism rather than pandering to the viewer with stylish Scorsese caricatures and a nice musical soundtrack to carry you along. If you want to feel transported into a real world where there are silences between people and not everyone can be compartmentalised into good or bad categories then this is the film for you. However if you want a Mafia film to allow you to switch your brain off at the door and where the guy with the best witticisms wins, then this isn’t. In relation to the comments on this site saying that the film is long and boring, you need to go into this film knowing that it's 137 minutes long and allow yourself the patience to experience this film. If you allow the film some leeway then you can experience a total emersion in society’s underbelly as if you really were a fly on the wall.

Nadia

This is a really new way of depicting the sprawling, pervasive and corrosive effect of the Mafia in Italy. In this respect the film has echoes of the TV series The Wire although it is not as viewer friendly. Here the director has favoured realism rather than pandering to the viewer with stylish Scorsese caricatures and a nice musical soundtrack to carry you along. If you want to feel transported into a real world where there are silences between people and not everyone can be compartmentalised into good or bad categories then this is the film for you. However if you want a Mafia film to allow you to switch your brain off at the door and where the guy with the best witticisms wins, then this isn’t. In relation to the comments on this site saying that the film is long and boring, you need to go into this film knowing that it's 137 minutes long and allow yourself the patience to experience this film. If you allow the film some leeway then you can experience a total emersion in society’s underbelly as if you really were a fly on the wall.

Joe

This is an absolute masterpiece. I was riveted for every minute of the film, from the shock of the opening, to the shock of the end. The performances are outstanding, the depiction of the complex global links that make up dodgy mafia dealings nuanced... And much more.. all faultless.

Joe

This is an absolute masterpiece. I was riveted for every minute of the film, from the shock of the opening, to the shock of the end. The performances are outstanding, the depiction of the complex global links that make up dodgy mafia dealings nuanced... And much more.. all faultless.

Al Dente

Supremely dull - like watching a two hour newspaper article. The material it covered is important and the stories need to be told. But they need to be told much better than this. A mishmash of stories and characters but not a single one was adequately developed. Above all, there was not one moment of humanity. If the aim was to portray a dark and desperate world then this film is a success, but it is neither interesting nor entertaining.

sharon

it is not the first time i follow the reccomendations of time out and yet again get bitterly dissapointed. a long and very boring film that leaves you with no inspiring thoughts. at least 10 people left during the film.

Lolla

We expereince life and a town in Italy, that we as tourists, would never see. Brilliant film in all aspects.