Directed by Matteo Garrone
Written by Roberto Saviano
Screening at Fact (10th-23rd October 2008)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Despite the lavish praise - and sometimes pretentious nonsense - that has been heaped upon this film, based on the Mafia in Naples, I found it a major disappointment.

I harbour doubts about their judgements when film critics start to talk about the return to the good old days of Italian neo-realist cinema – one even termed Gomorrah neo-neorealist! Absurd.

The main problem is the meandering nature of the movie, not helped by it containing five separate storylines, and also the lack of empathy or interest in any of the leading characters. If one of them gets gunned down by a rival gang, so what?

The film - directed by Matteo Garrrone - is adapted from a book by Robert Saviano, who is now under police protection after spilling the beans about the murderous activities of the Camorra, who have slain over four thousand people in the past thirty years.

The various storylines are mainly centred around - surprise, surprise - the drug trade, oddly enough, tailoring, and perhaps most disturbingly, the corruption rampant in the disposal of toxic waste materials.

Garrone portrays the urban landscape of Naples as being bleak and sombre, with run down housing estates to the fore. Unfortunately there is little else in the film to lighten the prevailing mood of despair.

Realistic Gomorrah may be, but it did not provide me with any meaningful insight into the ways the Neapolitan mafia conduct their bloody affairs.

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