Gomorrah (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)


Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah is a stark, shocking vision of contemporary gangsterdom, and one of cinema’s most authentic depictions of organized crime. In this tour de force adaptation of undercover Italian reporter Roberto Saviano’s best-selling exposé of Naples’ Mafia underworld (known as the Camorra), Garrone links five disparate tales in which men and children are caught up in a corrupt system that extends from the housing projects to the world of haute couture. Filmed with an exquisite detachment interrupted by bursts of violence, Gomorrah is a shattering, socially engaged true-crime story from a major new voice in Italian cinema.

Plot

The film opens with the murder of gangsters relaxing in a tanning salon. This shooting occurs between clans of the Di Lauro Camorra syndicate which rule ScampiaSecondigliano, and triggers the so-called Faida di Scampia (Scampia feud) which is the backdrop of the entire movie. The Faida erupts between members of the Di Lauro syndicate and the so-called scissionisti (separatists), who are led by Raffaele Amato, brother of two of the killed men in the opening scene.

The film intertwines five separate stories of people whose lives are touched by organized crime.

Don Ciro
Don Ciro (Gianfelice Imparato) is a timid middleman who distributes money to the families of imprisoned Di Lauro clan members. After the feud develops within the clan, he is ambushed by a pair of angry scissionisti during a delivery. Fearing for his life, he later offers to defect to their side. They refuse his offer, and tell Ciro that he has to “pay” for his life by selling some of his former associates. He leads them to the location where he is given the money for distribution. The pair raid the place, killing everyone but Ciro, and take the money. Ciro quietly walks off to an uncertain future.

Totò
Totò (Salvatore Abruzzese) is a 13-year-old grocery delivery boy who witnesses some drug dealers abandon a bag of drugs and a gun while evading the police at Sette palazzi in Scampia. He returns the items to the gang, who take him in. His initiation in an underground cavern consists of him being shot while wearing a bulletproof vest as a test of courage. As the feud intensifies, families in the neighborhood whose loyalties are suspect are ordered to move out or suffer violence; Totò’s fellow gang members receive similar threats. Later, while hanging out with his gang in the streets of Scampia, one of his gang is killed in a drive-by. The gang members decide to stand their ground and exact violent retribution by selecting a woman, Maria (Maria Nazionale), as their next victim, as her son has joined a clan of Secondigliano scissionisti. Totò, who has delivered groceries to Maria, is forced to lure her out of her apartment, where his comrades execute her.

Roberto
Roberto (Carmine Paternoster) is a graduate who works in waste management. His boss Franco (Toni Servillo) proposes to industrial men by North Italy a low-cost dumping of toxic waste, such as chromium and asbestos, at abandoned quarries and other sites (however knowing that dumpings are secretly illegal). During an operation, a drum of toxic chemicals is accidentally spilled on a driver. Franco refuses to call an ambulance, and hires children to drive the trucks when the workers refuse to continue their work. Later on, Franco and Roberto meet a family of farmers who, desperate to extinguish their debts, decide to allow the burial of chemical substances in their countryside. An elderly farmer gifts Roberto a basket of peaches, but Franco later tells him to throw them away because they are contaminated. Roberto then decides to quit his job and tells Franco he cannot bring himself to poison the earth, to which Franco says that he shouldn’t think he is the better man, because thanks to the actions of people like them Italy was able to enter the European Union, solving problems others had caused. Roberto walks alone on a desolate countryside road.

Pasquale
Pasquale (Salvatore Cantalupo) is an haute couture tailor who works for Iavarone (Gigio Morra), a garment factory owner with ties to the Camorra. Pasquale takes a night-job training Chinese garment workers. As they are competing with Camorra-controlled firms, the Chinese drive him to and from work in the trunk of their car. His secret work is discovered nonetheless, and his Chinese associates are killed in a drive-by. He survives the attack, but resigns his job. We next see him as a truck driver in a transport café where he spots Scarlett Johansson on TV wearing one of his dresses. He smiles wryly as he drives away.

Marco and Ciro aka Sweet Pea
Marco (Marco Macor) and Ciro (Ciro Petrone) are two young wannabe-gangsters who try to operate their own small racket independently of the local clan. Impressed by mafia portrayals from Hollywood movies, they quote lines and spontaneously reenact scenes from Scarface in Walter Schiavone’s villa while dropping references to Tony Montana, Miami, and Colombians. Their first score is robbing African immigrants during a drug purchase at the famous Hotel Boomerang, Castel Volturno. The word of the incident gets to the local mob chieftain Giovanni (Giovanni Venosa), who summons them and warns them under threat of violence not to repeat such behavior in the future. Ignoring him completely, they spy Camorra gangsters hiding a stash of weapons. They steal the weapons and amuse themselves by firing off rounds by the banks of a Regi Lagni canal estuary in the marshland. Once they run out of money, they use their guns to rob a video arcade, and spend their stolen funds at a strip club. The gangsters, angered, find them and threaten to kill them if they don’t return the weapons within a day. The pair prove stubborn. Zio Vittorio (Vittorio Russo), one of the local gangsters approaches them in a bar with an offer to come work for him. He offers them €10,000 if they return the weapons and murder Peppe O’Cavallaro, in fact uncle Bernardino (Bernardino Terracciano). They accept the contract, which turns out to be a trap, as they are ambushed and killed by Giovanni, Bernardino, Vittorio and others at the location of their supposed target, an abandoned beach resort next to Regi Lagni canal estuary. The last scene shows their dead bodies being carried away by a bulldozer.

New From: $28.54 USD In Stock
buy now