Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.



Review by Paul Edwards

The Godfather. The Godfather Part II. The Sopranos. Goodfellas. Mafia! Scarface. American Gangster. For some reason, Hollywood filmmakers have had a fascination with the mob or the mafia. I don’t understand all the reasons why they have been so entrenched in our mainstream culture; maybe it is the bravado, maybe it is gunplay, and maybe it is the power. I think it could be a mix of a lot of those factors and more.

However, in almost all the films mentioned above, there was a system that the mafia with a hierarchy, a Don who rules the company with an iron fist, the family, and general violence and terror to all rivals and double crossers. With the release of Gomorrah, this world has been turned on its head.

Gomorra is a series of interconnected yet unrelated stories. (Don’t think Babel or 11:14.) These stories are very independent of each other and there is no “let’s all hug it out” montage at the end. Gomorra starts off with a bang, literally. It’s the kind of opening that really grabbed me and kept me hooked for its 2:07 runtime. The opening is also where we see the style of the director, Matteo Garrone. He uses handheld cameras and close-in shots to really make the action more intense for a shorter period of time while at the same capturing certain reactive moments by the actors on screen before something big happens.

It’s also here in the beginning where we are first introduced to the music. The music almost doesn’t fit but at the same time it does. I think that’s because it is playing off all the notions, that maybe I had, from the films listed above. Most of the films up I mentioned earlier glorified the violence, like when Frank Lucas shot the neighborhood belligerent that owed him money in cold blood in the middle of the day with about 100 witnesses. Here, every death is examined and not forgotten by the filmmaker. There is always the reminder that these are people too.

I felt that this film is right up there with some of the best foreign films, ever. In terms of quality, it is at least as good as The Counterfeiters, which won the Oscar for Best foreign Language film in 2007. So, whether you see this film OnDemand or in the theaters, grab a popcorn and enjoy the ride!

5 / 5 stars

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