Gomorrah (Gomorra)

Critics Consensus

Portraying organised crime with an unflinching realism, this gritty and searing Italian crime masterpiece pulls no punches.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 152

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,080
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Movie Info

Adapted from Roberto Saviano's controversial non-fiction book, Matteo Garrone's crime drama Gomorrah examines how organized crime reaches deep into every facet of life in Naples, Italy by telling the tale of over a dozen different characters. Among the main protagonists is a pair of wannabe thugs who take their cue from movie gangsters, a grocery-delivery boy who must learn to kill, and a criminal mastermind who plots to make a fortune while dumping toxic waste near overpopulated communities.

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Critic Reviews for Gomorrah (Gomorra)

All Critics (152) | Top Critics (45)

  • We don't get to know the characters, exactly, but we experience something more interesting: we are brought into disconcerting, almost documentary proximity with the lives they lead and the worlds they inhabit.

    May 15, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Over the course of this sprawling mosaic about the world's most fearsome Mafia organization, the Neapolitan Camorra, [director] Garrone makes the business look like a beast of many tentacles, spreading misery and death to everyone it touches.

    May 1, 2009 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Gomorra has its own nerve, as well as the filmmaking intelligence to strip the cliches from its densely packed, authentically inhabited narrative. The new moviegoing year just got one hell of a jolt.

    Apr 10, 2009 | Rating: 4/4
  • The sense of authenticity in this movie is palpable, but the scenes are sometimes so dark and so impenetrable that it takes a herculean effort to keep up with who's who and what's going on.

    Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Gomorrah manages to be artful without being arty.

    Mar 13, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Garrone's gloomy assessment of the new world order is painfully on target: corruption comes in many guises, and it's as impossible to stop as it is to track.

    Mar 13, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gomorrah (Gomorra)

  • Apr 11, 2014
    All that glitters is gold. An oblique setting and insecure characters render empathy taut & rare. Although not caring about what happens to the characters is no pre-requisite in this type of story it's pace is still too slow & a plain old documentary would probably have been more engaging.
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2013
    The mafia has often been romanticized through Hollywood, the image of gangsters and hard edged criminals have been shrouded in legendary status among filmgoers since The Godfather. With Gomorra, the viewer gets an unflinching look at the criminal underworld. The film is quite raw and gritty, and it adds realism, to its story, something that is refreshing in the genre. The performances on-screen are very good, and Gomorra is one of the finest crime films that I've seen in quite some time. The cast do a fine job in their performances, and bring something unique to the screen. Gomorra is a memorable crime film that successfully strips away the romantic qualities of what you expect from the mob and delivers an intense picture that is raw, gritty and ugly. The film succeeds on many levels and it is a crime drama that you won't forget. This is a worthwhile film to watch and it will certainly entertain genre fans looking for something different. Gomorra succeeds on many levels, and if you're looking for a very well acted movie that tells an unflinching story of crime, then this film is the one to watch. Crime films are always hard to pull off, but this one definitely succeeds on many levels. The direction is engaging and the cast elevate the material significantly. Although at time times there are aspects that should have been better, the film manages to tell an engaging storyline that will entertain genre fans. Gomorra is an accomplished film that reinvents the genre. The film at times could have been better, but overall this is a highly entertaining crime film that you shouldn't pass up.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2013
    A sprawling, multi-layered epic in the vein of "Goodfellas" concerning the rampant crime taking place in Italy, involving five stories and over a dozen characters and showing how each one connects to the illegal activities. Although perhaps a little too big and too overpopulated, this is still a rock-solid film about how pervasive crime environments swallow everything in their paths, and sometimes involve youth that get tricked into thinking it is something that anybody can do as long as they have a gun in hand. This is a film that probably deserves several views, because there is a lot going on and the way it interweaves between stories might lose some viewers. Overall a good film, and one that deserves a watch.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2012
    Wow, are they seriously still making Italian mafia films? Well, in all fairness, this is a pretty daringly unique Italian mafia film, seeing as how it's actually Italian. It does seem like all of the memorable Italian crime films are American and by Italian-Americans, so much so that this film didn't make it to America without going through Don Scorsese. If the crime film industry is, in and of itself, like the mafia, then I think it's safe to say that Marty is on top, partially because no one knows where in the world Francis Ford Coppola went, and I can think of plenty of people who would say that, after "Jack", they don't really care. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that Scorsese, by 1995, finally decided to put a hit out on Coppola so that he could claim the title of head of the crime film industry, and when De Niro refused to do the deed, seeing as how it was Coppola who gave him his big break, Scorsese banished De Niro to mostly bad crime films after "Casino" and got DiCaprio to take the job, promising that he would take DiCaprio under his wing. Wow, I've heard of the movie mafia (I don't know where, but I'm pretty sure I heard that somewhere), but that's something else, and would probably make for a more exciting film than this one. Good Grace Kelly, man, forget critics, this is not even mildly good, which is what I've said time and again about other over-artistic bores, only to turn right around and say that they're not bad either, yet with this film, I've pretty much had it and just have to say that this film is utterly irredeemable, which isn't to say that there aren't some aspects that try and actually almost succeed. Yes indeed people, this is one of "those" films, where everything drifts along in a dreamlike fashion, and for various reasons that I'll touch upon later, that means death for this film, even with the film having, if nothing else, the style to back up those ambitions of dreaminess. What often saves films of this type is the quality of its artstistry, and while this film's visual style isn't quite as stunning as that of the plotless bore that was "Hunger" or as inventive as that of the slightly more ploted bore that was "Days of Heaven", Marco Onorato's cinematography remains impressive, having a kind of slick grace to its staging and manipulation in order to accentuate both the environment and surrealistic atmosphere, thus creating a dreamlike tone that leaves you to slip into this world. Once you're in this world, however, there is nothing to really work with, yet the fact of the matter is that this film does get you into its world, not to where you fully feel it, but to where you are faced with undeniable artistry that will occasionally create a certain kind of charm. Those occasions are so rare it's not even funny, yet when they do arrive, they liven up the film, which isn't to say that there aren't certain consistent aspects outside of the cinematography that come close to saving this train wreck. Not too much material is provided for our performers to really step up, or if there is, then the effectiveness of the performances go undercut by the ineffectiveness of the direction, yet almost every notable member of this hefty cast delivers on a certain degree of charisma, as well as even a smidge of the depth that the film itself fails to provide. The film's being ineffective, even with effective performances, shows that the performances aren't quite good enough, yet the performances are generally commendable, as are plenty of stylistic choices, and that could have made this film, at worst, mediocre, like it has with many films of this type. However, the final product just doesn't make the cut, for although this film has a fair bit of what I like about art pieces of this type, it boasts much more of what I, not just don't like, but absolutely hate about these pretentious bores, and ultimately comes out as a prime example of artistic misfire, only with a bit more plot, messily handled though, it may be. There's not much plot to the film, yet what plot there is goes scattered all over the place, and by that, I mean that this film cascades what plot it has into many subplots, and I really do mean "many" subplots, as this film goes convoluted by its being so bloted with stories, almost none of which tie together - or at least not organically - and decidedly all of which find their effectiveness tainted by the unevenness and bloating of the film's subplotting... or whatever you want to call it. Of course, what hurts the subplots much more than their being messily sewn together is the simple fact that there's very little plot to be found in the film in the first place, because, make no mistake, even with its having more "plot" than your usual arrogant dreamy art piece of this type, this film is still an arrogant dreamy art piece and falls into the tropes of such a genre messily, providing extremely lengthy periods of, not even filler, but just pure nothingness in an attempt to place you deeper in this world, when really, all it does is repel you from this world, as it separates you from the stories. Once the film gets around to exploring the stories, however, it barely, if at all gets any better, retaining a bone-dry atmosphere, as well as pin-drop quietness, taking its sweet time meditating upon the scenario at hand as it tries desperately to pull you in this world, when all it ends up doing is leaving you to drift further and further away. This is what can be said about a lot of films of this type, as these kind of dreamy art pieces rarely work, yet they typically stop short of collapsing beneath contempt, often achieving, at worst, mediocrity, because where those films tend to have the upperhand is in their not just being more artistically impressive, but also in their, well, believe it or not, lacking a plot. I know it's a strange thing to say, partially because its plotlessness that has actually left many films of this type to be as weak as they are, but really, films like "Hunger", "Wings of Desire" and "Days of Heaven" all do what they set out to do and place style leaps and bounds ahead of substance, yet what we're left facing here is a more story-driven film, for although I joke about how this film doesn't have much plot to it, style and substance go hand-in-hand, and therein lays this film's death blow. This film built around both story and style, yet the style is just so profoundly pronounced, and problematic to begin with, and thus choke the bite of the substance, until bite ultimately dissipates and leaves both the story to run completely and utterly bloodless and the film to limp along with no dynamicity or engagement value, until the final product finds one of its primary focuses, plot, completely crushed, and its other primary focus, style, too flawed to stand unsupported, thus leaving the film to ultimately collpases over upon itself in a more disastrous fashion than usual. The plotless art pieces of a similar type are what they are, it's just that what they are are members of a fatally flawed concept and are therefore typically mediocre on a general scale, yet this film fails at its intentions, and therefore fails as a film by its own right, because when you come down to it, there is not even a single second of mild compellingness in this entire, nearly 140-minute-long, glacially paced, overwhelmingly pretentious, tedious bore that may be pretty and well-acted enough to not be, I don't know, "10,000 B.C." (Yes, I said it, shut up critics!) or something like that, yet generally just couldn't end soon enough for me. In the oh so very long awaited end, the film is undeniably visually striking, as Marco Onorato's cinematography captures the environment with a dreamy grace that leaves you to drift into this world and find the ever so occasional piece of reasonable charm, as well as a myriad of commendable performances, thus giving the film the strengths that have saved other films like it, though not at the expense of such severely damaging flaws as a ceaseless, overwhelming dullness and arrogance - made worse by many an overlong period of total nothingness -, as well as the fatal flaw of considerably faulty plotting, which leaves both the many stories to sew together inorganically and in a rather convoluted fashion, and any degree of substance or intrigue within the film to completely dissipate, thus leaving "Boremorrah-I mean, "Gomorrah" to fall flat as a tediously uncompelling and overblown misfire that stands as a firm testament to the consequence of style-over-substance. 1.5/5 - Bad
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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