Friday, February 05, 2010


Italian mafioso brings to mind the magical world of Godfather where you were rooting for the gangsters and their twisted sense of honor. Matteo Garrone destroys that fantasy by focusing his lens on Camorra, the oldest crime syndicate running amok in Campania, Italy. 

To show their multi pronged reach, Garrone enlists a plethora of characters. Toto, a grocery delivery boy running errands for his mother in a crumbling housing project. Don Ciro, the money runner, delivering hard cash to the family of mob members in prison. A tailor who gives illegal classes to workers in a Chinese sweat shop. The college graduate who works for a corrupt business man involved in illegal waste disposal. And to top it off, a couple of cocky wannabe Scarfaces!

In every storyline Garrone slides the mafiosa in and by not making them the prime focus, the effect is quadruple. The haphazard editing forces the viewer to concentrate and it only increases the power of the film's delivery. But its most important feature is that of stripping the gangsters of all their glamor and glorification. They are shown in their basest form, paranoid, violent and sans any honor or humanity. Some might be annoyed that the storylines having no connection. But there in really lies the master class of Garrone as he shows us the infiltration depth of the mafia in daily life in Naples.

Rating: * * * +

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