Gomorrah (2008)

gomorrah poster 2008 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Gritty, grimy crime drama

Feels like it could be tied in better

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Gomorrah

Studio: Movie Studio

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  May 16, 2008 (Italy)/May 18, 2008 (Cannes)/February 13, 2009 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

gomorrah tanning salon murder gang war

Let the Gang War Begin!!!

Crime doesn’t pay, but living is hard.  The death of crime leaders in Naples leads to a power void, and everyone is seeking to fill it.  Marco (Marco Macor) and Ciro (Ciro Petrone) think that they could be the next leaders while money collector Don Ciro (Gianfelice Imparato) realizes he might have to switch sides to avoid danger.  Designer Pasquale (Salvatore Cantalupo) risks his own safety to make money training Chinese designers trying to get into the Italian fashion scene.  Totò (Salvatore Abruzzese) sees more for his future as he must pick sides in the war, and Roberto (Carmine Paternoster) learns he might find money in dealing with Franco (Toni Servillo) whose job is to “dispose” of toxic chemicals.

Directed by Matteo Garrone, Gomorrah (Gomorra) is a crime drama.  The movie is based on the 2006 nonfiction book Gomorra by Roberto Saviano.  The film received positive reviews.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #493).

gomorrah gun testing scene

Who didn’t shoot weapons you stole from drug dealers in a swamp with you friend in your underwear while growing up? It’s a rite of passage

Crime movies like The Godfather and Scarface glamorize crime and the lifestyle it can bring.  City of God kind of changed the format by showing a grittier crime world where “better” is somewhat nominal…Gomorrah follows in City of God’s crime really doesn’t always mean greatness.

The movie is essentially a series of short stories mixed together.  None of the individual characters really interact, and some (like Franco and his white collar crimes) don’t even take place in the same area as the other character’s stories.  While the stories are unconnected, the movie feels intertwined because of the tone and struggles facing each character.  Even as they get ahead, they fall in deeper to problems…you could argue that no one gets out clean.

The cast is strong.  The leads tell compelling stories, though it would have been nice to see how a woman deals with the crime surrounding her (and if she could even be considered a player in the criminal world).  The characters all reach a conclusion, but since the film is a slice of life, it also feels like you could learn more about what happened to the characters after the film ends.

gomorrah toto salvatore abruzzese

Toto sells out

The movie looks good.  Often, Italy is glamorized.  While a trip to Venice looks good, much of what is shown of Italy is old and run-down.  It isn’t the beautiful Italy of tourism.  These people are living in building that are sometimes historical, but often just modern tenements that no longer are suitable…but affordable.  It is rather depressing.

Gomorrah is an under-seen gangster movie, and it is probably because of the format.  In most crime movies the criminals live large and crash hard, but in Gomorrah, status quo is never really established.  Some characters are stopped, some change professions, but no one really excels or has a punishment that fits the crime.  I also could have seen a second Gomorrah come out that follows up on the characters…just to see if anyone managed to escape the world.  An unrelated TV series was released and aired from May 6, 2014-December 17, 2021.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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