Young Italian journalist Roberto Saviano has been in hiding since his gripping exposé of the inner workings of the Naples Mafia, the Camorra, became a bestseller – and prompted the city’s gangsters to pass a death sentence on him. Watching the chilling Italian crime movie made from his book, Gomorrah, you can see why he now lives under 24-hour armed protection.
Filmed with matter-of-fact realism, the movie weaves together five stories from Saviano’s book to show how the Camorra exerts its terrifying hold on Naples. Following Saviano, writer-director Matteo Garrone doesn’t depict the leading Mafiosi, instead he focuses on the people in the lower reaches of the underworld: a middle-aged accountant who delivers funds to the families of jailed gang members, a young boy whose decision to join one faction puts him on the opposite side to his best friend, a pair of delinquents who fancy themselves as criminal big shots, a university graduate who has moral qualms when he becomes involved in the dumping of toxic waste, and a skilled tailor who is tempted by an offer to work for Chinese rivals of Mafia-controlled dealers.
Deservedly nominated for a Bafta, Garrone’s film has been scandalously overlooked by the Oscars. Perhaps Hollywood doesn’t like looking at the squalid reality of organised crime? (Released 9th February)