Film: Gomorrah

You can’t walk down the street, open a paper or a view a web page without being confronted with Daniel Craig’s smug face at the moment. I’ve never been a fan of the Bond films, or come to think of it the supposedly edgier Bourne ones, prefering my movies a little bit more cerebral and, well, gritty.

Saturday’s movie choice has certainly got grit by the bucketload. It’s an Italian movie, set in Napoli, directed by Matteo Garrone and based on the book by Roberto Saviano, and tells the story of the Camorra (basically the local mafia). This isn’t a Godfather-style glamoratisation of the mafioso lifestyle – far from it. It tells the stories of a success of men (some young, some not so young) and the implications of being permanently ‘at war’.

Its not just about shootings and drug deals (those are there in their unbridled glory if you want them), but it also looks at the much more unsexy side of the mobster life – toxic waste disposal, and the involvement in haute couture.

Gomorrah is a powerful movie that really demands an emotional response. More so when you realise that a large proportion of the film’s cast aren’t actually actors, but residents of the mean streets where the film was shot – a lot of the people you actually see on screen have lived life as part of or under the shadow of the Camorra. The Guardian ran a piece about this the other day.

With its grainy (often documentary style) camerawork, the film has a certain naked honesty that brings to mind Man Bites Dog (without the dark humour), City of God (minus the banana) and La Haine.

For me, the film too often seems to lack a focus and a real sense of narrative, and so falls a little short of La Haine in that regard. That said. Gomorrah is still a blinding – if a bleakly blinding – piece of work..

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