Gomorrah, or the Real Mafia Lifestyle

Words by Eliana Radu

Most of you are probably familiar with the Fight Club followers of today, or the new street-smart ‘bad boys’ as they like to call themselves. But, believe it or not, a life in which you have to struggle to stay alive isn’t funny, or as glamorous as most gangster movies make it out to be.

Gomorrah is the real deal. It’s an Italian film which might as well have been a documentary, dealing with real issues, real people and real places. If you want a beautiful landscape and a cheesy love story, you’re out of luck. There’s no fairytale here.

Directed by Matteo Garrone and featuring a cast of unknown actors delivering very authentic performances, Gomorrah illustrates the criminal underbelly of Italy in an almost brutally honest way. We get to follow the stories of five different groups of people, all struggling in one way or another, and all trying to escape the malign influence of the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia.

The film uses basic, unrefined realist cinematography, editing and aesthetics, ruthlessly submerging you in a Neapolitan hellhole for over two hours, where, along with the characters, you experience the fear, witness the misery of Naples’s slums, see the blood, and ultimately feel trapped in a sadistic circle of cruelty, desolation and prejudice. This is as close as you can get to real organized crime and life in the slums without actually being injured.

Next time you visit Italy and stop to bask in the sun, grabbing a gelato and admiring its apparent beauty, think for a second about what might be going on behind the scenes. You’ll have to once you’ve seen this film.

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