User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 61
  2. Negative: 13 out of 61

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  1. Aug 11, 2011
    9
    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.
  2. Jul 22, 2013
    9
    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.
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Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    80
    A sombre, slow, but well-paced study of organised crime in urban Naples that leaves a very grim taste in the mouth.
  2. 80
    The five interwoven narratives in this visceral but disciplined and beautifully acted movie show to devastating effect how ordinary men and women -- and especially vulnerable boys desperate for masculine role models -- get caught up in the seductive violence and are ruthlessly destroyed by the network's hardened henchmen.
  3. 100
    The fingerprints of the Camorra are everywhere, this film wants us to know, and its grip is lethal.