Quick recap: Gomorrah is a (faintly veiled) fictional look at what crime is really like in Italy.
Fun (?) fact: ‘Gomorrah’ is a pun on the name of the Mafia type featured in the movie, the Camorra. Also, the writer whose work this movie is based on, is on permanent police protection because for whatever reason, the Mafia doesn’t really like people outing them and their illegal activities. Go figure.
My thoughts: I, like most people, was brought up on the ‘Disney’ version of fairy tales where everyone lived happily ever after, like Snow White marrying her prince. Come to find out, most of those stories also contain some sort of fantastical violence like the Queen from Snow White being made to wear burning hot shoes as punishment and dancing until she dropped dead. So, a bit different from the cartoon version and kind of a shock upon learning the truth. This is how I felt after watching Gomorrah last night. I feel like I have been given a glossy version of mob life when the reality is much darker and bloodier.
In case there is someone reading this who is like me and only thought of The Sopranos when the word ‘Mafia’ is mentioned, there is more than one kind. The Mafia most people think of is the Sicilian Mafia, the dudes who have an order and wear nice clothes and perform hits on people. The Mafia this film shows is the Camorra, which is the hot mess of organized crime. The structure of the Camorra is built horizontally, which often leads to war between clans and lots of dead bodies in the street. On the upside (if there is such a thing), when bosses get arrested it doesn’t effect the group like it would in the Sicilian Mafia.
So, as you can probably piece together, this movie was super violent. It didn’t bother me all that much until the end when I had gotten invested in the characters. There isn’t a main character in Gomorrah, but instead several characters that work within the mob. One of them is a young delivery boy who gets initiated into a gang while another is a tailor who is secret paid by the Chinese to teach them how to sew. I liked that the director didn’t go out of his way to make the characters interact with each other because many times I felt like I was watching a documentary rather than a fictional movie. I think this is also what increased my dread toward the end because I saw the characters as real people. When the deaths did occur it all seemed very realistic, as if I was watching a murder taking place on screen.
This movie certainly isn’t for everyone, but it opened my eyes to a part of the world I had not known up until this point. When I think of Italy, I think of beautiful ancient structures, amazing food and of course, the Mafia. What I have never thought about is the real people who live there, people who live in poor neighborhoods and who must join a gang in order to survive. This is the Italy the tourist books don’t want you to see. Then again, America has its own ‘dirty little secrets’ we sweep under the rug and hide away so that tourism will continue.
Final review: 5/5 although I don’t know if I could sit through it again.
Up next: hopefully Terminator 2