A Film Review of Gomorrah

Aug 13, 2009 by Tom Jones

Gomorrah, the recent film released from Italy, is based on the book of the same name by Roberto Saviano. It offers an inside look at the Camorra, a mafia-cum-syndicate-cum-criminal organization, which originated, and still operates in the region of Campania, and the nearby city of Naples in Italy.

It recently won the Grand Prix award at Cannes a couple of months ago, and garnered the praise of Martin Scorsese, the famed Director of Goodfellas, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and The Color of Money, among other memorable and famous films.

In its current form and reality, the Gomorrah is an Italian crime organization that bears little resemblance to the Mafia. The Mafia and other crime syndicates around the world, balance their illicit business within the confines of government systems, through the use of corruption.

But not the Gomorrah.

The Gomorrah controls the huge swath of global commerce and money that moves through Naples, Italy and into Europe. They do so through extortion, murder, and acting as their own government, to dominate politics. In Italy, the Gomorrah permeate every fiber of life there–and elsewhere.

Perhaps a harbinger of things to come, the movie’s matte finish is useful as the backdrop of murder, betrayal, and morality which the movie explores. The cinematography adds no joy to the difficult choices that the characters and story explore. Be that as it may, the Gomorrah is much more aligned in both character and ethos, with the gangs currently overrunning Mexico. They have no homage or loyalty, other than to their own business and business model of money, murder, and mayhem for their own benefit, and by and behalf of themselves alone. For them–country, nation, or homage, has no meaning, no boundaries, and no importance.

While the Sicilian Mafia has drawn the lion’s share of media attention over the years, it’s the Camorra families of Naples who have really created an oligarchy of power and violence, controlling lives and entire economies not just in Italy but worldwide — their profits are estimated at over $233 billion per year. This money comes not just from expected areas like drugs and waste disposal but high-end fashion and pirated knockoffs, whose raw materials arrive from China and are channeled exclusively through Camorra businesses. Source: Variety

The film combines 5 different characters and stories, all centralized around the theme of working with, or against the Gomorrah.

Urban Structures

There’s the young gangsters who refuse to halt their ridiculous antics, contravening the local boss’ demands to cease and desist. They openly show him their disdain and contempt; the businessmen who dispose of huge amounts of toxic chemicals illegally, to maximize profit while minimizing and ignoring the necessity of proper disposal; there’s the couture tailor who betrays the Gomorrah to sell his knowledge to Chinese factory owners; a young boy who is forced to make life and death decisions at a very early age for survival; and a dedicated bag-man for one criminal empire who has to betray his side in order to survive.

This is a move whose motif is War. It’s never clear who’s fighting whom, or for what reasons; but the movie cements the concept that money, loyalty, betrayal, and craftiness are the tools of the human condition and for survival. The film’s setting is the backdrop of bleak, urban cement structures– at times with the beach or mountains in display– and the plot and story are a reminder that crime pays and most of the time it only pays for a few. While it’s not a “Mainstream” movie, it has enough gravitas and heavy duty backing by such luminaries as the Cannes Grand Prix and Scorsese, to warrant its review.

With the recent Mexican gang wars close to our borders; it’s not hard to misunderstand a movie like Gomorrah, nor the organization that it represents. It’s about greed and money, and a take no prisoner approach to survival in our faux surface of modernity and enlightenment.

For want of any other reason—it’s worth watching to learn that often times some people and organizations value other lives much less than their own.

And for that, it’s well worth renting.

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One Response to “A Film Review of Gomorrah”

  1. A Film Review of Gomorrah | Travelin' Local | Max Cocking for Celebrity News and Rumours says:

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