Gomorrah 

Not your typical spats-and-pinstripes mobsters: a scene from Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah

Not your typical spats-and-pinstripes mobsters: a scene from Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah

Gomorrah, Matteo Garrone's unblinking look into the devastated Italian provinces where the Comorra crime syndicate does its dirty work, is like a mobster-movie pizza pie, undercooked and crudely sawn into half a dozen uneven, indigestible slices of life that don't offer its hungry customers much to chew on besides the fearful, depressing contemplation of corrupt moral and economic systems. Its dismembered bits of plot are mixed indiscriminately as part of a puzzling plan to deny its audience the passé pleasures of narrative, character identification, and food for thought.

The word film critics most often invoke to separate Gomorrah from other crime films is "unglamorous," as if the moviegoing public were a moronic gang of Tony Montana wannabes who needed scolding for its gangster dreams. But whether that word is meant to chasten ticket-buyers or simply signal a larger failure of critical imagination, it's not inaccurate: To employ the term "mobster" at any point in the movie would confer a false spats-and-pinstripes elegance on the stuffed-sausage Cro-Magnons who periodically emerge from Gomorrah's depths and trundle around in sandals, track suits, and wife-beaters, with guns tucked into their pants like hammers or scythes.

The film's rub-your-nose-in-it ugliness extends beyond the characters, seeping into the landscape. Garrone shoots Naples as though it's an abandoned archaeological site, and the beauty of the Italian countryside is ignored.

Instead, most of the action takes place in and around the universal-slum skylines of overcrowded housing developments and half-completed construction sites. And the nervous hand-held camerawork provides additional irony, as it darts and bobs about its subjects, seeking some new or fresh angle from which to view the unfair transactions and displays of brute force as thoughtless and regular as a ritual animal slaughter.

Opens Friday, April 24th, at Studio on the Square

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • BlacKkKlansman

      Spike Lee pulls no punches with his triumphant true story of the black detective who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan
    • Memphis Film Prize 2018

      Ten local films compete for $10,000 in the 2018 Memphis Film Prize

Blogs

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (August 16-22)

News Blog

REI Opens Next Friday

News Blog

Stat: Gun Crimes in Shelby County

News Blog

State Review of School Security Nearly Complete

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

This Week At The Cinema: The Good, The Bad, and The Anime

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Aaron James

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Addison Engelking

Readers also liked…

  • Death Grip

    Memphis filmmaker Sam Bahre talks about his 11-year struggle to create I Filmed Your Death.
    • Apr 19, 2018
  • Fifty Shades Freed

    Feature length commercial for luxury goods or chilling glimpse into the post-human future?
    • Feb 16, 2018
  • Fifty Shades Darker

    America gets the boundary pushing lifestyle porn it deserves
    • Feb 16, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation