Directed by Matteo Garrone. Italy. 2008. NR. 137 min.
Fri, May 15 thru Fri, May 21 -- Roll over to view showtimes.
"Martin Scorsese may be presenting Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah, but this corrosive, slapdash, grimly exciting exposé of organized crime in and around Naples comes on like Mean Streets cubed. Detailing daily life inside a criminal state, it's a new sort of gangster film for America to ponder."
"Gomorrah takes its punning title—the Neapolitan crime syndicate is called the Camorra—from Roberto Saviano's 2006 bestseller, an impressive feat of first-person journalism by a 26-year-old writer, now under police protection, that was published as a novel in Italy but categorized as nonfiction in the U.S. Many of Gomorrah's characters and situations are drawn from Saviano, although Garrone's movie—a prize-winner at Cannes, shown at the last New York Film Festival—is less an adaptation of the book than the successful decanting of its toxic fumes.
Poison is the lifeblood of what Saviano simply refers to as "The System"—crack cocaine, chemical waste, tainted money, and creeping corruption. Gomorrah opens with a standard-issue hit in a gangster-favored health spa and then, without ever pausing to explain who wanted whom dead, goes on to map the web of relations by which the Camorra ensnares its subjects (many of whom are played by nonprofessional locals). Crime bosses and crooked pols are off-screen. Instead, we have the residents of a vast, moldering housing estate in Scampia, a Naples suburb reputedly home to the world's largest open-air drug market. Set in the middle of nowhere, this poured-concrete maze is part Aztec pyramid, part minimum-security pen. Transversed by narrow catwalks and alleys and honeycombed with lookouts, delivery boys, enforcers, and gangster wannabes, the structure promotes a particular form of tunnel vision." (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice)