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Film / Gomorrah

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Gomorrah (Gomorra in Italian) is a 2008 Italian film directed by Matteo Garrone, based on the book by Roberto Saviano, who also collaborated on the screenplay. It deals with the Camorra (a traditional Mafia-esque criminal organization based in the southern Italian region of Campania, in and around the city of Naples), in particular, the Casalesi clan and their business.

The movie tells five stories of individuals who think they can make their own compact with Camorra.

  • Don Ciro (Gianfelice Imparato) is a middleman bean-counter employed by the Camorra who distributes money to the families of imprisoned clan members.
  • Totò (Salvatore Abruzzese) is a 13-year-old grocery delivery boy who join the mob, but in the meanwhile earns a few euros picking up shopping for a local woman whose husband appears to be "away".
  • Roberto (Carmine Paternoster) is a graduate student who works for Franco (Toni Servillo), a businessman who offers dumping grounds for toxic waste in the countryside of southern Italy.
  • Pasquale (Salvatore Cantalupo) is a Camorra tailor who works for Iavarone (Gigio Morra) presiding over vast sweatshops: engine rooms for the fashion industry.
  • Marco (Marco Macor) and Ciro (Ciro Petrone) are two brash teenagers, obsessed with gangster movies like Scarface and with the desire of becoming bosses themselves independently of the local clan.

Not to be confused with Gomorra, a 2014 television series loosely based on the same book and created by Saviano himself, but unrelated to the film. Nor should it be confused for Goncharov, a "movie" that spawned from an OCR misreading this movie's name.

Tropes in this film:

  • Affably Evil: Franco. Mostly because he is a businessman and not a gangster.
  • Child Soldiers: Totò enters the clan, but he never took a gun. However, his role is important in Maria's death; he is forced to lure her out of her apartment, where his comrades execute her.
  • Contract on the Hitman: How Marco and Ciro meet their fate. An older mobster points out they'll have trouble with the police if two youngsters are killed publicly, so he approaches them with a deal — for 10,000 euros they return the weapons and kill a mobster who has betrayed him. The youths follow their target to an isolated location, only to be murdered in an ambush and their bodies carted away by a bulldozer to be disposed of.
  • Crapsack World: Scampia and Secondigliano, just like in Real Life. Especially Scampia, which is regarded as a ghetto and is the biggest open-air drug market of Europe. In general these areas have enormous social problems: high unemployment, truancy and drop-out rate from school, drugs and the pervasiveness of organized crime.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The feud within the clan is all about this. When one of Totò's gang is killed in a drive-by, the gang members decide to stand their ground and exact violent retribution by selecting a woman, Maria (Maria Nazionale), as their next victim, as her son has joined a clan of Secondigliano scissionisti.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Faida di Scampia (Scampia feud) is the backdrop of the entire movie. The Faida erupts between members of the Di Lauro syndicate and the so-called scissionisti (separatists), who are led by Raffaele Amato, brother of two of the men who were killed in the opening scene.
  • The Mafia: Well it isn't Cosa Nostra per see it does feature a similar Italian criminal organization known as the Camorra. The story takes a rather realistic view of the Camorra clans in Naples and Caserta, showing how they create a climate of fear, murder and corruption that infects all levels of society.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-Universe when Marco and Ciro reenact the final scene of Scarface (1983) in the abandoned home of a Camorra boss who built it to resemble Tony Montana's house.
  • Non-Action Guy: Don Ciro. Indeed, he does not want to be involved in the feud and, at the end, he sells out his comrades to save his own life.
  • Plot Parallel: The film intertwines five separate stories of people whose lives are touched by organized crime.
  • Police Are Useless: No police officers or other authority figures take any sort of effective or preventive action. There are usually only seen in the aftermath of crime, performing cleanup, or wandering around the background.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Averted. Pasquale puts himself in mortal danger by giving lucrative "lessons" to Chinese competitors. His secret work is discovered nonetheless and his Chinese associates are killed in a drive-by. He survives thanks to his boss, but is not happy.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Roberto decides to quit his job and tells Franco he cannot bring himself to poison the earth and ruin people's lives for profit.
    • Pasquale. After surviving the attack, he resigns from his job. Later, he's working as a truck driver.
  • Shown Their Work: As in the original book, the film shows how the Camorra is involved in various and different criminal business: from drug trafficking to illegal landfills.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Marco and Ciro, two teenage hoodlums that have been running out of control in the local Camorra clan's territory, despite warnings from the mob boss to behave themselves or die. They ignore this warning, stealing a cache of weapons hidden by the Camorra. Even then they're given a chance to return the weapons and fall into line. They refuse and are immediately set up to be killed.
  • Villain Protagonist: The characters are all criminals or tied in with them.