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87

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Power, money and blood: these are the values that the residents of the province of Naples and Caserta confront every day. They have practically no choice, and are forced to obey the rules of the "System," the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a normal life. Five stories arePower, money and blood: these are the values that the residents of the province of Naples and Caserta confront every day. They have practically no choice, and are forced to obey the rules of the "System," the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a normal life. Five stories are woven together in this violent scenario, set in a cruel and ostensibly invented world, but one that is deeply rooted in reality. (IFC Films) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 100
    Both a staggering realist thriller and a jeremiad.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss and Mary Corliss
    100
    Probably the bleakest, least sentimental study of the Mafia in Italian or American film history.
  3. 100
    The fingerprints of the Camorra are everywhere, this film wants us to know, and its grip is lethal.
  4. 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.
  5. A frightening portrait of corruption, cynicism, intimidation, greed and violence, Gomorrah is tough stuff.
  6. 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.
  7. 20
    Clearly, Gomorrah is supposed to represent the best of today’s European cinema...and if this is the best, I would hate to imagine the worst! Gomorrah is a boring mess focusing on how the mob in today’s Naples has its tentacles stretched far and wide

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. John
    Mar 7, 2009
    10
    Masterpiece!
  2. MichaelNewmarket
    Dec 30, 2009
    9
    Brutal; bleak; superb.
  3. 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, andNo 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.
    Expand
  4. BillE.Budd
    Feb 27, 2009
    8
    Saw it @ Busan Film Festival. Liked the style. Grim, visceral, unrelenting. A strong statement.
  5. ColinT.Black
    Mar 28, 2009
    7
    Completely got what the movie was going for, I was sold on the documentary style, and didn't fight it nor did I miss the typical Completely got what the movie was going for, I was sold on the documentary style, and didn't fight it nor did I miss the typical genre-conventions, but films like City of God and TV shows like The Wire have done it better. With that being said the film is definitely one of a kind, but while definitely succeeding in being a voyeuristic and informational tour, another reviewer stated "it is difficult to tell who is who, what they are doing and why." Couldn't agree more. And I did feel like the less is more ethos is somewhat of a cop-out, so the film could look mumbled & fumbled all in the name of cinematic style and POV not quite a more truthful telling... the Director may not of been competent enough to interweave a truly-realistic yet truly-compelling narrative. Expand
  6. desmondP.
    Mar 1, 2009
    6
    Vastly overrated. Other than the two young hoodlums it is difficult to tell who is who, what they are doing and why.
  7. caporegime
    Jun 10, 2009
    1
    Movie murdered the gomorrah and also the mafia. If you already know how the mafia works, then you don't have to see this movie because Movie murdered the gomorrah and also the mafia. If you already know how the mafia works, then you don't have to see this movie because it only contains how they operate. Expand

See all 22 User Reviews

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