Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 89
    This isn't some pomo arthouse picture looking to score points by subverting the gangster paradigm; it's a killer film about killers who idolize film but are unable or unwilling to parse the doom that always crops up come Act III.
  2. 100
    For Americans, Gomorrah will play like every other Mafia epic - and no other Mafia epic.
  3. 100
    Both a staggering realist thriller and a jeremiad.
  4. 100
    Gomorrah looks grimy and sullen, and has no heroes, only victims. That is its power.
  5. The characters in Gomorrah may lack an extra dramatic dimension: Garrone errs, if anything, on the side of detachment. Yet that detachment is also the key to the film's success. There's so little hooey and melodramatic head-banging here.
  6. Garrone's messy storytelling compounds an already messy history. He's a powerful filmmaker, though, and a fearless one.
  7. Naples-born Servillo is a national star, famed as a theater, opera, and film director as well as an actor. And he's got the face of a mensch (or a Madoff) -- which makes his embodiment of criminal banality all the more identifiable, as well as horrifying.
  8. 100
    The fingerprints of the Camorra are everywhere, this film wants us to know, and its grip is lethal.
  9. 88
    The film's disclosure that Camorra money is involved with the reconstruction of New York City's Ground Zero will give viewers something to think about.
  10. A frightening portrait of corruption, cynicism, intimidation, greed and violence, Gomorrah is tough stuff.
  11. 83
    The sense of inescapability, the mood of capitulation and resignation, becomes the story. What is being made clear is the thoroughgoing rot of a civilization; there is literally no place to find peace, solace or consolation.
  12. 88
    So fasten your seat belts for Gomorrah, just snubbed in the wussy Oscar race for Best Foreign Film (so you know it's dynamite).
  13. 90
    This film never feels like copycat Americana to me. Its vision of the bleak, ruined, urban-cum-rural landscape of Naples and environs is distinctively European and postmodern, redolent of the spiritual and physical desolation Antonioni captured so memorably in "Red Desert."
  14. This is a vision of hell conveyed in a simple, documentary style, far removed from the sumptuous American Mafia fables.
  15. 91
    Gomorrah takes place in a world where decency can't take root and we can only watch in horror as crime overwhelms society's most vulnerable-- women, children, law-abiding citizens, and the conscientious few who want to get out of the game.
  16. An unforgettable portrayal of the unglamorous gangster life, which is often short and never sweet.
  17. Reviewed by: Natasha Senjanovic
    Powerful, stripped to its very essence and featuring a spectacular cast (of mostly non-professionals), Matteo Garrone's sixth feature film Gomorra goes beyond Tarrantino's gratuitous violence and even Scorsese's Hollywood sensibility in depicting the everyday reality of organized crime's foot soldiers.
  18. Part of what's bracing about Gomorrah, and makes it feel different from so many American crime movies, is both its deadly serious take on violence and its global understanding of how far and wide the mob's tentacles reach, from high fashion to the very dirt.
  19. 90
    The result demands a patient viewing, and maybe more than one; only after a second dose did I get the measure of Garrone's mastery, and realize how far he has surpassed, not merely honored, the author's courageous toil.
  20. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss and Mary Corliss
    Probably the bleakest, least sentimental study of the Mafia in Italian or American film history.
  21. Reviewed by: Jan Stuart
    This vibrantly disorienting cinematic import reinvents the vocabulary of the crime drama with a painterly eye and a feverish documentary style.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Jul 22, 2013
    No matter how many mafia films you have seen, you have never seen anything like "Gomorrah." It is a desolate film--devoid of hope, and explores a brutally violent way of life without heroes, just victims. “Gomorrah” portrays an Italy so far removed from our picture post card images of a beautiful, crumbling grandeur that it’s shocking and startling. This is a modern day Italy of chronic unemployment, decaying infrastructure, and social stagnation. Director Matteo Garrone's unflinching portrait of a very real hell on earth won the Grand Prix at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. This isn't some art house picture looking to score style points by subverting the gangster paradigm. “Gomorrah” takes on a hard-hitting documentary feel, providing a horrific glimpse of everyday life on the lawless streets of Napoli.

    Gomorrah is the name of a Biblical city synonymous with shameless sinners. The title of the Italian film "Gomorrah,” is a chilling descriptor and play on words referring to the "Camorra"- a notorious, violent, organized crime syndicate that controls the city of Naples and surrounding countryside. Garrone introduces us to the typical daily life inside this criminal state—and a little known criminal organization to the Western world. The film is based on Roberto Saviano's 2006 best selling novel "Gomorrah," who personally documented his dangerous first-person journey, and to this very day lives under police protection.

    "Gomorrah" opens with a standard-issue mob hit and then, without ever pausing to explain, proceeds to map out the web of relations by which the Camorra ensnares its subjects and how it operates. Powerful crime bosses and crooked police officers are off-screen. Instead, we are introduced to the residents of Scampia--a notorious Neapolitan suburb that is a vast, disastrous structure of public housing. An ominous warren of concrete, steel piping, and oppressive apartment blocks, a setting every bit as menacing as Rio de Janeiro’s ‘Favela’ in “City of God” (2001). Crime and poverty are rampant, drugs are sold and consumed openly in the streets, and is widely recognized as the world's largest open-air drug market.

    Director Matteo Garrone splinters the narrative, and then traces it along different commercial channels an industrial waste disposal service, an illegal garment manufacturer, a construction company, and the relentless drug wars that play out in the streets. Poison is the lifeblood of what Saviano simply refers to as "The System"-crack cocaine, chemical waste, tainted money, and creeping corruption. The movie maintains an authentic feel of "street level occupation," and contains no musical score, which only adds to the desolate story line and landscape. Unlike so many of its ancestors, from "Scarface" (1983) to "Goodfellas" (1990), fast money, accumulating wealth, and achieving status is the driving motivation behind the criminal activity. "Gomorrah" is not a sensationalistic film, far from glamorous, and there is never any sense of riches to be had.

    It's a frightening and chilling experience to watch the reprehensible, ruthless violence perpetuate in the slums of Napoli’s. We reach a point in the film when the criminal activity and bloodshed is no longer startling; and it simply becomes the immediacy and sudden violent disruption of every day life. Nothing sweet or serene in this movie stays that way for long. There is no Hollywood gloss, or international stars involved in telling this story. Just a hollow point shot of gritty realism that a bulletproof vest can’t even stop.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2012
    A grim and uncompromising look at the human cost of the Italian criminal underworld. It is undeniably well directed and well acted. The multiple plots give scope to the story even if it does meanders occasionally. Full Review »
  3. Aug 11, 2011
    A gritty and very visual journey through the layers of filth, violence and strict codes of family values and honor that govern the southern parts of Italy. Beautifully shot and well acted, it is a true example of the best that modern European cinema can offer. Full Review »