Gomorrah

Gomorrah (Italy, 2008, 137 mins.) Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2008, Matteo Garrone's film provides an intriguing and often disturbing examination of the Neopolitan criminal clan system. Set in a run-down suburb of Naples called Campania where the residents form a network of families controlled by the Camorra, Gomorrah uses five separate overlapping stories to explore the full range of the Camorra's criminal activities, from drug trafficking and waste management, to housing cooperatives and selling counterfeit designer clothing. Gomorrah is stunningly vivid and surreal as it both mimics the look and setting of many classic crime films, while also insisting on its own distinct style and geographic location. Despite its gritty, hyper-realistic urban setting, Gomorrah conveys a strong sense of dislocation as it moves between the Camorra family's struggle to maintain control of their territory and the new immigrant populations who threaten to take over Camorra territory. Like many classic crime films, Gomorrah leaves little room on the screen for ‘official’ authority. Just as police officers remain ineffectually at the margins of such classic gangster films as William Wellman’s Public Enemy, the occasional long shot of the Carabinieri suggests that they, too, are virtually powerless to prevent the Camorra’s illegal activities. As the film’s title suggests, the citizens of Campania can do little to escape the violence that dominate their hellish community.