If you feel you have no choice, you do what you have to.

This is the conundrum of Nicola, a 15 year old boy living in the Camorra run streets of Naples, Italy. There are no other options for Nicola and his friends and like many young people around the world living in gang controlled areas, they see crime as the only way to make it.

Based on the Roberto Saviano’s best selling novel and directed by Claudio Giovannesi: Piranhas-The Boy Bosses of Naples is closely related and definitely has the hallmarks and the style of the film and the television series, Gomorra(h). There is little surprise with the Saviano connection and the fact Giovannesi had previously directed two episodes of the series prior to Piranhas cements this connection.

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Gomorra(h)TM in all it’s iterations. The film is brilliant and then the series took it to the next level, operatic, Greek trajedic and raw and brutal as fuck and so Piranhas is an extension of this world and I, for one applaud it. Gomorra(h) introduces us to the kids on the streets becoming soldiers for the main characters, the local bosses and shows what happens when they become involved in the world and that usually doesn’t end well for the participants and Piranhas is an extension of this. You can’t talk Piranhas without giving the obvious nod to it’s predecessor.

The acting is always true, there is no mugging for the camera by the actors and this is so refreshing in a world where you are hit by a plethora of ‘displays’ of acting. The kids are brilliant and Francesco Di Napoli playing the lead, Nicola, is a breakout star, delivering a fantastic performance rooted in reality. The joy, camaraderie and love the boys have for each other is palpable, they are a non-blood family and their love for one another shows on the screen.

After season 4 of Gomorrah, I was fiending for more so I watched Suburra (the film and the 2 seasons) and even though I enjoyed it, it definitely felt like the younger, less gritty sibling of Gomorra; the Roman equivalent to the streets of Naples and so, watching Piranhas, I got excited again.

This won the Silver Berlin Bear award for Best Screenplay at the Berlin International Film Festival and deservedly so. I haven’t read the book it was based on but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of the film.

This is a brilliant slice of life in the streets of Naples seen through the eyes of the young. It is scathing but empathetic and understanding, never truly judging the characters merely taking a ride with them through their volatile lives.


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