Tuesday, January 27, 2009

GOMORRA (Matteo Garrone, 2008, Italy) The Camorra is a brotherhood of incestuous violence, ruled by a monetary monarchy whose goal is absolute power by any means necessary. GOMORRA deconstructs the gangster genre, raping the glamorous Hollywood charade: this is a dirty, bloody conflict, a war without boundaries, people without morals or allegiance except to promote their own survival. Director Matteo Garrone’s cinema verite depicts the slums and filth of Naples, his technique eschews quick flashy gimmicks, which anchors our perspective into this decadent environment, and creates a palpable friction of bloodshed and adrenaline fear. The narrative is segmented into five characters which accomplishes two important goals: first, it allows us a visual access to disparate elements of the infernal workings of the Camorra syndicate; second, it lets the viewer step backwards and become observer without too much emotional investment into the characters. We feel almost numb to the violence and greed, rooted in the power of the almighty dollar, and we are able to distance ourselves and contemplate the film intellectually, to judge each situation and its implications. We see Marco and Ciro as unlikable punks who get what they deserve, but we also feel a pang of regret at their demise: after all, they are just products of a poisoned environment. Robert and Pasquale, though their stories never intertwine, are humanity’s hope: they walk away towards their own destiny, attempting to take control over their own lives, no longer indentured servants whose body is a machine at the mercy of a demagogue. A film of power and urgency, the film ends with Pasquale’s truck disappearing into the night, the long and winding road ahead, and a dire warning concerning the toxic organization whose infection continues to spread worldwide. (B+)

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