Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GOMORRA - I'd rather have watched a doc

Man, I know I'm going to come off all Neanderthal in this review, but I got bored silly during GOMORRA. I know it's meant to be a superlative tour-de-force depiction of modern-day Italian mafia - grimy and honest rather than glorying in violence. I know that the director deliberately avoids a straight-forward plot - and wants to give a more realistic patchwork of realistic stories. I know that we are meant to work hard and discern the spider's web of insidious corruption as small boys become drug runners and old men dump toxic waste in quarries. But quite frankly, this movie tells us nothing we don't already know. Admittedly  it tells us what we know in a manner that is down and dirty and grimy and gritty and that's interesting for about an hour and a half. But after that? Snooze a-go-go. So call me superficial. I'd rather read the book. In other words if you want to make a film that's deliberately alienating in order to capture a sort of hands-off, non-melodramatic, documentary feel, then frankly I'd rather watch a doc or read a book. I'm not sure if form and content are aligned here. Of course, other critics are praising the film-makers precisely for neutering the narrative fiction film, but why? I just don't get it.

GOMORRA played Cannes, where it won the Grand Prix, and Toronto 2008. It opened earlier this year in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Portugal. It is currently on release in Denmark, Norway and the UK. It opens in the Netherlands on January 29th.


  1. your blog titel and subtitel are intreging, how do you come up with that?

  2. The sub-title is a quotation from a great movie called Broadcast News, which is about the decline in standards of journalism. I change the quotation whenever I find some dialogue I really like in a movie I'm watching.

    The title is semi-serious. Watching a movie requires time and money - around £15/$30 for a ticket in London. So I think we need to be ruthless in reviewing rather pandering to the Hollywood publicity machine.

    Plus, of course, the fact that I am in fact a greedy capitalist bastard. I have a low tolerance for schmaltz, melodrama and mediocrity. Excellence in film-making is acccepted. Perfection is our goal.

  3. well, I see
    Thank you for the explanation