Gomorrah (2009) — And Which Movies Should I See Next? (Poll)

by George Watches Things

This week on the 2009 revisit, I take a dive into Naples organized crime with Gomorrah. Keep your eyes on the prize, though; the end is only a few weeks away, and you know what that means… awards! But I can’t make it there without you. Which is why there are polls below the review. You tell me what to watch between now and then, and I’ll do my best. And I’ll review the top vote-getter from each poll.

Gomorrah is a hard film to watch. Not only does it include a lot of important characters whose names you have to remember and faces memorize, but it’s an honest look at a harsh world.

It takes place in Naples, a city at the base of a volcano and with an erupting gang war on its hands. We’re not sure who is on whose side (at least I wasn’t… I mean, the film doesn’t exact make that clear), and it really doesn’t matter. The point here is that violence is bad, and so is becoming a cog in its machine.


Throughout the film, we follow five storylines. In one, two 19-or-so-year-olds act reckless and get their hands on some guns that don’t belong to them. In another, a tailor takes a job with a Chinese gang instead of an Italian one. In yet another, a 13-year-old babyfaced grocery delivery boy finds some drugs and returns them to their drug kingpin owner, who intrigues him.

Gomorrah leaves you with a lot of things to think about, but not all that much to feel. Only two of the storylines pack anything close to an emotional punch… the rest feel rather reserved. It would have been easier to catch everyone’s names, but even harder to watch their struggles, if it hadn’t been so distant.

I’d also say the first half of the film completely sacrifices emotional connection for story and theme. And that prevents a lot of good scenes from being great scenes.

And a collection of good scenes makes a good movie, but not a great one. Pulp Fiction was great not only because it followed a non-linear timeline, but also because it made you care or at least interested in its characters. Gomorrah does that for some, but not enough of its own to be great.

My rating: 3/4

In consideration for: Best Supporting Actor (Abruzzese), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography

Next week: A Serious Man