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Matteo Garrone's GOMORRAH is a dense, sprawling expose of the corruption plaguing the communities of Naples and Caserta in modern-day Italy. The all-powerful Camorra syndicate influences the lives of even the most innocent citizens. In a manner similar to THE WIRE, Garrone tells his story from many different angles, resulting in a complex narrative that often feels novelistic. In many cases, the revolving stories never overlap or intersect. While that may be jarring to those viewers who are used to having their strings tied neatly for them by a film's conclusion, Garrone's decision results in an experience that feels much more honest and true. We witness the syndicate's impact from the top down and from the inside out, following a cavalcade of characters who are all trying in their own ways to escape the deadly world in which they live.
Based on the book by Roberto Saviano, Garrone's crime epic is a powerful indictment of the corruption that is running rampant in Italy. His decision to present such a wide spectrum of characters enables him to show just how deeply everyone is impacted by this terrifying, unchecked display of criminal power. Cinematically, he employs a dizzying array of styles in order to further establish the frighteningly ungoverned atmosphere that pervades this community. GOMORRAH succeeds as both visceral entertainment and thoughtful social commentary.