Monday, March 9, 2009
Gomorra - a REAL Mafia movie, almost too real
Director: Matteo Garrone
Language: Italian (English subtitles)
Grand Prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival
For those of you who don't know me. I am Italian. 100% Italian. My family comes from Naples, Italy - where this movie was shot. This movie is about the mafia in Naples, Italy.
I have always had a fondness for mafia movies because of my heritage but also because its comforting. I know that sounds crazy, but the culture of mafia movies is comforting to me, the braggadocio of the men, the loud women, the cocky kids, the visions of food, cigarettes and liquor and corruption that lies between them all.
This movie covers 4 parts of Neapolitan life that is tainted by the mafia. The director skips around a lot between the different stories, which makes it hard to keep up at times, but if you follow close, you can get it.
This is not your typical "Ah yo getthefuckoutta here" Mafioso movie. Hollywood tends to paint a very tough, cold picture in mafia stories. You see money, fine suits, cigars, women, drugs etc. This is not the case in Matteo's movie. This is real. Naples has GHETTOS and the mafia resides in them. The mafia has to watch over where they work - keep an eye on their people. Can't do that from the mansions on the hill.
At times you feel sad and sorry for certain made members - because of the constant struggle they face daily with keeping their bosses happy but never being able to get out of the mess they are in. One man, who pays off people who "know too much" is a frail older man, who is constantly roughed up or has a gun put in his mouth because his bosses change "the list" and those that used to get money, arent anymore because their info is no longer sensitive. He is abused by both sides of the gun, literally. By the end of the movie you really feel sad for him.
By far the two best characters of the movie are the two young men (on the movie poster) who WISH to be mafia made and will do anything to be part of things. The scene on the movie poster depicts the hilarious scene of them in their underwear, shooting guns they found in a mob stash. This eventually leads them to more trouble than they ever imagined, but I won't spoil it.
The cinematography is amazing. Documentary style, you often find yourself questioning if this movie is REAL or actors. The way the camera holds a little too long on peoples emotions, to make sure you feel them. Almost like imposing on their privacy in some way. The slums of Napoli are filmed so you can FEEL the dirt on your feet. The directors ability to capture the violence of a scene but then draw your eye to the impoverished area and scenery as well, its fantastic. I found myself scanning the landscapes, shocked at the visual he was able to create at times. His ability to convey the feeling of a typical lower class Italian home, was impeccable. Smoke filled rooms, loud TV volume, laughter, cards being played, food cooked, spit fire dialect being spoken at each other, sun rays coming through the shades, dirty animals in the halls. It reminded me of Naples 100%.
I won't divulge anymore into the storyline, in fear of spoiling. What I will tell you is this. If you have any love for Mafia movies - SEE THIS FILM. This movie is better than ANY Mafia film I have ever seen, because its real and because of how its filmed. There is nothing glam or Hollywood about it. Its gritty and bloody but at the same time sad, lovely and real. If Scorsese doesn't LOVE this film, I would be VERY surprised.
Rating: ***** Closest thing to a perfect mafia movie ever. IF you ever wondered what it was like in real life, real times - this movie shows you.
**Here are a few more movie photos