The italian gangster movie Gomorra seems to be all the hype here in Holland all of a sudden and it’s difficult to go anywhere without seeing it marketed. But does this Italian film live up to the hype? Read it all in the review below.
The film Gomorra is an Italian adaptation of the crime-bestseller by Roberto Saviano, who recently had to go into hiding due to the controversial nature of his book. Supposedly the film is a lot less confronting about the Italian mob, but focuses more on the people themselves and how Italian mob life affects the average Joe. The film follows about 5 different characters during their daily life and struggles and shows all kinds of different hardships within some Italian communities. What makes the film feel different than most other Gangster-movies, is the fact that, in contrast to films like RocknRolla, everything is very unstylish and unpersonal. So don’t expect any real jokes, except some comic situations here and there, and don’t expect a very convoluted plot. To tell the truth, there is no real plot and the stories get so fragmented that in the end they don’t even really tie in with each other. Which is a shame.
The film opens up with a mob hit in which a couple of gangsters are assassinated during a trip to a local spa. By creating a very violent beginning underlined by some hip music, the director seems to be going for a more stylized (city of god) feel, but after the opening scene there’s a surprising lack of violence and most of the time we just follow seemingly depressed characters through depressing flats. And although there is some tension sometimes, the editing and pacing is so unbalanced that any true tension is hard to be had. Even more so, I would almost go as far as to say that a lot of scenes had me bored and waiting until the moment we switched to the next character. According to the director he wanted to focus on the average Joe in the Italian ’slums’, but what he seemingly forgets is that to make these people interesting we have to know what’s going on inside their heads and feel compassion for them. And that’s something that never really gets established, so there’s not enough bonding with any of the characters. Arguably, the only two really interesting characters were the two youths shown in the banner above.
For a Gangster-film the pacing was unnaturally slow and the plotting was very tame and chronological. Not counting the very first scene, everything happened in complete chronological order. It feels like so much more could have been done with the concept and it leaves one amazed at how dull a crime-film this actually is. Now I don’t think that I’m the type of person who only enjoys films when they’re hectikly paced and handy-cam filmed, but somehow the better parts of this film never really worked together and it left me leaving the theater half-way relieved that it was finally over. The locations however are beautiful in their own strange way and the cinematography can be rather sharp as well. The problem is though that the characters fail to engage on an emotional level. It’s not that the acting is bad, it’s just probably misdirected by the director himself and I wonder what other people could have done with this excellent material who might have had the guts to take it to a bolder level. However, I might be a little too harsh on this film, as I have to admit that I did enjoy myself and I had the idea that I understood what the director wanted to achieve. It’s a shame that the end product is not as good as the sum of it’s parts would suggest, however maybe my expectations had just been raised too high. All in all, I would give this film a solid Matinee.
Conclusion: Great concept and good cast, but lacks charm and suffers from bad editing.