Sunday, 12 October 2008

REVIEW: Gomorra

Yay. I get to give my first postive review. For Gomorra is a measured and realistic look at the Naples mafia and its impact and what can only be the slums of the city. One of the great things about this film is the sense of grime and ruin it purveys. We really feel the sense of a City crumbling from the weight of its amoral inhabitants. Full of peeling wallpaper, aged tarmac and general discoloration, major props go to the location scout and set designer for really making us feel the poverty of our surroundings. Similarly the hand held, minimalist camera-work helps to add to the sense of heightened realism, capturing the chaos and making it credible. The film favours an ensemble cast ahead of bona-fide' leads, although there is one arc that is perhaps meant to stand out over the rest. It's a shame then that its the weakest aspect of the movie. Two teenage wannabe gangsters set out to try and emulate hero Tony Montana and fight there way to the top through nothing but sheer gall and fail miserably. Its an over-the-top storyline that would have been fine in Scarface but is at odds with the otherwise staunchly realistic style and the two teenage actors involved really aren't good enough to make it work. There are moments it can be effective, but they are usually when the teenagers either shut-up or get tortured. The other arcs fare much better and more in keeping with tone, from a kind of aged mafia delivery boy to the supervisor of an asian sweatshop to the corruption of a young child, these more down to earth and subtler stories work much better for the film and its a shame they weren't given more precedence. Its not a particularly exciting or entertaining film, so don't expect The Italian Goodfellas. ( Goodfellas itself is the Italian-American Goodfellas) but this is much more like Traffic, exploring dangerous issues with detachment and intelligence. Not the masterpiece some have called it but a jarring and unique experience.


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