Gomorrah has been termed the best mob movie since The Godfather, but I think with one difference. The Godfather, while based on reality, was clearly a work of fiction and the film had a sleek cinematic look to it. On the other hand, the jerky handheld documentary style camera work of Gomorrah and the very realistic, flawed characters, each with their own agenda, makes it hard to distinguish between what is real and what is fiction. No wonder that Roberto Saviano, the author of the book on which the film is based, had to go into hiding after threats of assassination.
Matteo Garrone’s portrayal of the alliances, loyalties and fear engendered by the Camorra, the mafia in Naples, is gripping and explosive. The casual disregard for human life shared by the five storyline threads and the swaggering machismo of the mafia machine makes for a violent and bloody film – because there’s no choice for the residents of the drug-infested, dilapidated, concrete monoliths – you’re either with them or you’re against them.