Gomorra, an Italian film by Mateo Garrone, is an intense and astute depiction of modern day criminal enterprise in Naples. Based on Robert Saviano’s highly acclaimed non-fiction book, Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System, Gomorra presents us with 5 non-interlaced stories about crime in the Neapolitan town of Scampia. The film was highly successful in Italy, where thousands of bootleg copies are sold on the street by same organizations that the film targets. Although the film was made nearly 40 years after the heyday of Italian neo-realist cinema, it retains many of the qualities and trademarks made famous by ...view middle of the document...
This dedication to filmmaking pays off when the viewer sees the grandiose and monolithic structure that pales in comparison to the “projects” of New York City.
The majority of the actors in the film are amateurs who have never appeared on film before. Other than Toni Servillo, who is an established star in Italy, almost none of the actors have ever appeared on film before. The film’s amateur cast adds to the film’s authenticity and grittiness. Much like earlier Neo-realist films such as Accetone, the film’s novice cast enhances the cinematic experience for the viewer. The stand-outs from the cast are Marco Macor and Ciro Petrone who play characters named after the themselves, Marco and Ciro. They play the role of two amateur thugs brilliantly and with a stark authenticity that is rarely shown in fictional film. It is easy to see why the image of the two boys blindly firing assault weapons in their underwear is used as the main promotional image of the film.
It is hard to argue against the film’s authenticity when Garrone had assembled the cast out of locals from Naples’ most notorious city, such as Bernardino Terracciano who plays local mob boss Zi Bernardino. Terracciano’s own life is a parallel to that of his character as proven by his October arrest for “extortion and associating with the Mafia”.
Garrone’s film mainly consists of a series of long shots. Scenes such as Roberto surveying the empty ditch and Don Ciro riding in the car of a mobster’s girlfriend stretch up to a minute long. The scene where gangsters are driving in their car and checking up on drug dealers lasts around 2 minutes. This length allows us to fully understand and experience the enormous level of drug traffic in Scampia.
The films narrative is broken down into 5 separate stories, the most notable of which is the tale of Toto, a grocery delivery boy. His section of the film bares many parallels to the story of Open City. Much like the story of Rossellini’s film revolves around the conflict between Nazi loyalists and the dissenters; Toto’s story (and Don Ciro’s) revolves around the conflict between the established clan and secessionists. The two films feature a conflict between a powerful majority and a cunning minority. Toto’s story ultimately ends with him using his trust to betray Maria, resulting in her gruesome murder. Ironically in Open City, a similarly named character of Marina, abuses Giorgio’s trust resulting in his gruesome murder. The viewer is left to...