Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Not Sodomy...

Gomorrah was one of the most acclaimed non-English language films of 2008 (and not nominated for Oscar - sidenote: it's widely seen that the changing of the way the Academy selects the shortlisted titles for this category [whereby six are voted on by the branch membership at large and three are selected by an executive committee] is a result of both this film and 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days failing to receive nominations despite their universal acclaim in their respective years and numerous awards and nominations in other high-profile ceremonies, including the Grand Prix at Cannes.) The film is very complex, a maze of almost half a dozen different narratives woven throughout the Naples gangster community, interlinked by how they are all affected by this mob influence on their lives, which are spent in very close proximity.

I'm not going to try and summarise the film, because that's nigh on impossible. As mentioned, it's very complex and interlinked, and without breaking the strands apart, which would make the film appear much more simplistic than it actually is, it would simply turn into a jumble of words with no real coherence for anyone who hasn't seen the film. I'm sure breakdowns exist out there anyway - why add to it.

What I will say is that the film is very good. The performances from the cast, both young and old, are very strong, and the film looks extraordinary, thanks to cinematographer Marco Onorato. The screenplay (by, like, half a dozen people, including director Matteo Garrone) weaves the narratives together very nicely, interlocking them and playing them against each other effortlessly. Moments of confusion are quickly dispelled as well - the stories are individually clear despite often common themes or locations. No doubt this has a lot to do with the work of editor Marco Spoleti, who holds it all together in exemplary fashion.

It's a damn good film, a great gangster film. I'm drawing parallels in my head to the grittiness and power of City of God, another film about the dangers of the underworld, and I think the comparison is warranted. It's dark and it's bloody, but it's worth it. 4.5 stars. 


  1. This is an excellent movie, I wish more people could've seen it and been as outraged as I was when Oscar snubbed it. Fortunately Cannes is still undoing all the cinematic wrongs in the world.

  2. Thank heavens for Cannes. Without it I think the whole world would be lost.