GOMORRA (2008)

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A gangster film with a difference; gone are the romantic, sweeping strokes of the films we know and love, and in its place is a City of God style realism that takes you to the heart of this violent world.

Based on Roberto Saviano’s best selling account of the Camora, an crime organization in Naples that is akin to the Sicilian Mafia and directed by Mateo Garrone, this incredible film is so engaging for a film that eschews conventional story-telling and in its place gives the audience a documentary style that grabs the viewer and doesn’t let go until the final credits.
Garrone lived for 2 months in the Scampia area that the film takes place in before filming the movie and Saviano, the writer of the book, had to go into hiding after the publication in fear for his life.

The violence is quick and over before you know it, making it all the more visceral and shocking, but it’s the threat of violence that looms over the proceedings that lingers. The estate that much of the film takes place in is steeped in poverty and the residents are trapped in a cycle of war between the gangs that live there.

The word mafia is never used in The Godfather, and the same happens here, Camora is never mentioned.

Gomorrah won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes the year it came out and well-deservedly so. This is a film like few others. It feels like a documentary and this is down to the brilliant editing of Marco Spoletini, the impeccable direction of Garrone but the main honours should go to the actors. Toni Servillo is the only really well-known actor here, the rest are a mixture of seasoned theatre actors and kids from the street (as in City of God).
They are so committed and rooted in reality that you never see the acting and this is testament to Garrone’s direction and their incredible talent.

The last shot is so powerful, it’s been a while since I felt this way at the end of a film.

With the release of the television series, it was finally time to watch this film that has been on my radar since it came out and what an experience it was.

This is a brilliant indictment of the corrupt, broken system that is in place in Naples to this day; brutal, raw and honest.

A must watch.

BUY THE FILM ON BLU RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE

4/5

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IL DIVO: LA SPETTACOLARE VITA DI GIULIO ANDREOTTI (2008)

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The star: the spectacular life of Giulio Andreotti, Italian politician and seven time premier during the 1970′ and 1980’s.

Italian politics for the uninitiated is complex but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable and infotaining. Even without a working knowledge of the politics of the time one can still thoroughly enjoy this operatic slice of cinema.

There is a punk aesthetic that this film begins with, hitting the viewer with beautifully shot images of various political assassinations of the time. Consequently similarities arise in tone at times to Goodfellas especially in the way characters are introduced and subsequently disposed.

Il Divo confirms that Paolo Sorrentino is one of this generation’s greatest directors.
All his Italian films are incredible and thus far he has written not a note out of place.
Toni Servillo, his muse, delivers another great performance as Giulio Andreotti, studied, still and sublime. He is De Niro to Sorrentino’s Scorsese and secures his place in the top ten of my favourite actors working today.

The soundtrack is always a big part of Sorrentino’s films (like Scorsese) and the last tune of the film seems to encapsulate Andreotti perfectly. Luca Bigazzi, Sorrentino’s trusted cinematographer is back framing the shots with an artistic aesthetic.

A question.
Why is Fanny Ardant uncredited? I understand the lack of accreditation in La Grande Bellezza as that was literally fleeting but she has a nice scene early on in this film that warrants a credit. Everyone has their reasons for sure but it is a curiosity indeed.

There is a quote from Rosa Falasca Andreotti (Giulio’s mother) at the beginning of the film:

“SE NON POTETE PARLARE BENE DI UNA PERSONA, NON PARALTENE”

“If you cannot speak well of someone, don’t speak about them”

And while it is difficult to keep opinions to oneself when it comes to a major politician who supposedly works for you, the people, this quote is filled with a deep wisdom.

Remember, just because you don’t follow the minutiae doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

4/5

BUY THE DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE