Ah, bella Italia! Where men are men, politicians are corrupt, mafiosi are everywhere and women are either hookers or molls. Or at least, that’s the general thrust of this Netflix-produced gangster-movie-cum-extended-series-pilot from Stefano Sollima, veteran of both the ‘Gomorra’ and ‘Romanzo Criminale’ serials.
In the Roman suburb of Ostia, it’s all kicking off. At the behest of ageing gang boss Samurai (Claudio Amendola), politician Malgradi (Pierfrancesco Favino) is trying to push through a land bill that’ll lay the area open to rapacious redevelopment. But the deal starts looking rocky when the MP’s obligatory night of crack and prostitutes takes a fatal turn.
Sollima is clearly a fan of countryman Paolo Sorrentino (who directed ‘The Great Beauty’). ‘Suburra’ is drenched in flickering neon and filled with sour-faced men scowling at each other over very small cups of coffee. There are some bracing action scenes, and it’s enjoyably bloodthirsty. But with no decent characters to root for and precious little humour, it gets tiresome long before the apocalyptic finale.