Thanks to the fine people at SIFF I was able to catch up this past weekend on one of the films I didn't get a chance to see in Palm Springs.
This film provides a slice of life snapshot into the activities of the Camorra which appears to be a loosely organized but extremely violent "organized" crime group in Italy. Activities range from the expected such as drug dealing, to the less so such as illegal toxic waste disposal to the everyday/surprising such as fashion. As opposed to many "mafia" film based on southern Italian groups there's zero in the way of romanticizing the criminal activities or people involved. Lives are treated as worthless and practically everyone ends up dead, or (seemingly) soon to be so. It is not the feel good movie of the year. With title Gomorra - hopefully that's not what you're going in expecting.
The film felt slightly long to me, and this isn't something where any particular character is likely to draw you in. Everyone has a born to lose/dead man walking feel about them. Life is cheap and characters are constantly being gunned down. It's a bleak situation and they seem to have purposefully made a bleak film to tell the story. I felt it was effective - with a number of riveting shots where the camera is held steady on a person or scene until eventually you're forced to realize what the film maker is trying to say. And I mean that in the best possible way - a true model of showing vs. telling (Think of it as the cinematic opposite of reading a Twilight book). Especially the opening scene which I completely was pulled in by. The best part for me was that sometimes the significance of what you were seeing didn't reveal itself until much later in the film.
It's hard to say I "recommend" this - as it's not an entertaining experience. I am however quite glad I saw it. Likely won't be a top favorite for the year, but it has some examples of style/presentation that will be with me a long time. Might make an interesting double feature with II Divo for the extremes of Italian problems/corruption and a contrast between the hyper kinetic political film with this much slower tale of continual homicide.