Gomorrah (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray) (S) product details page

Gomorrah (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray) (S)

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Movies about powerful crime figures pose unique problems for socially responsible directors. After all, films about really bad men do run the risk of making murder, blackmail, and torture glamorous -- even when the director doesn't mean for them to be. But, Matteo Garrone avoids these pitfalls skillfully in his drama Gomorrah by tempering the excitement of thug life with a healthy, if scary, dose of social realism.Adapted from the Roberto Saviano book of the same name, the movie details how the Camorra, an organized crime network located primarily in Naples, controls the lives of so many citizens that, in some parts of Italy, they dictate social order more than the police. The movie uses five intertwining storylines to reveal the vast scope of the Camorra's power. For instance, there is a pair of twentysomething wannabe badasses who start out playacting scenes from Scarface, but end up in over their heads after stealing a stash of guns from a local mob boss. We also watch as a young delivery boy must help kill a woman who has been trying to escape the corrupt system put in place by the Camorra. In another segment, we learn how the men at the top of the criminal food chain make a fortune by disposing of toxic waste -- usually close to heavily populated areas where the people are too poor, or too scared, to fight back. Garrone presents all these various plot strands in a style that combines Scorsese-inspired kinetic action with John Sayles-esque humanity. From the opening scene -- a stylishly photographed mob hit in a tanning salon -- to a final crawl that reveals alarming real-life statistics about the Camorra, Gomorrah is a hard-hitting film that exhilarates and educates in equal measure. Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide