Friday, April 10, 2009

Review: Gomorra

Five indiviual stories intersect following a middleman distributing money, a 13 year old grocery delivery boy, a graduate, a coutre tailor and two teenage wannabe gangsters. Each story exposes their own connection with the organized crime syndicate of Italy, known as the Camorra.

"Gomorra" is a immersing film that exposes the modern day italian maffia known as the Camorra. Based off the book of the same name written by Roberto Saviano, the film reveals the Camorra's outstrecthing control over the city of Naples. Director Matteo Garrone creates a well developed intersecting film, however "Gamorra" is at times very hard to follow, leaving the viewer confused and desperately trying to make heads or tales of what exactly is going on between all five stories.

Cinematographer Marco Onorato delivers a striking vision throughout "Gomorra," one that submerses the viewer into the under-belly of the Camorra. Particularly, the use of the urban neighborhoods in Naples and the sprawling apartments that the Camorra have overrun with drugs and corruption. Onorato's steady cam work pulls the viewer right into the action, leaving them face to face with the bitter decisions made throughout the 137 minute running time.

The large cast is well played throughout. Each member of the cast contributes effectively, which makes for a rousing film going experience. Nicolo Manta as Toto, the 13-year old grocery delivery boy, is one of the standout performances here in "Gomorra." The young actor's portrayal of young boy sucked into the wrong situations are brilliant and the highlight of the film. Marco Macor and Ciro Petrone are also electrifying in their performances as two wannabe gangsters who idolize the Brian De Palma film, Scarface. It should also be noted that Salvatore Cantalupo who plays Pasquale a couture tailor, that while having the smallest of the five intersecting stories, was so suttle, moving and well performed he creates a calming tone and to an otherwise stirring and alarming film.

Overall "Gomorra" is a powerful film, but loses some of it's impact due to a hard to follow plot. The intersecting storylines are each independantly well done, however when put together they become jaded and lose some of their focus. By all means though, there is alot going on in "Gomorra" and keeping track of each storyline becomes cumbersome in points. The summative information on the Camorra and their corruption given at the end of the film is mesmerizing, it's just too bad the rest of the film didn't have the same result.