Despite its gritty subject matter, Gomorrah is a sophisticated watch.
The Italian import’s bleak color palette, rapid-fire and subtitled dialogue, and unapologetically grim world might challenge even foreign film aficionados, especially at the outset. But sit tight and pay attention and by the end of the premiere, you’ll find yourself as much in the grip of crime boss Don Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino, Hannibal) as the don’s enemies and associates in Naples’ Camorra crime family.
And this must be said: There’s something deeply satisfying about watching an earnestly authentic mob story set in Italy … in Italian.
SundanceTV acquired two seasons of Gomorrah — based on Roberto Saviano’s 2006 best-selling exposé, and Italy’s most popular series ever — which tells the tale of the embattled don and two men vying to succeed him.
First in line is Savastano’s only son, Gennaro (Salvatore Esposito) — Genny for short — a beefy, entitled, impulsive boy who inherited neither his father’s elegance nor his stomach for violent crime. Savastano’s best enforcer, Ciro (Marco D’Amore), also has greater ambitions, even as he heeds Don Pietro’s order to help Genny think and act like a boss. Watching from the sidelines (but hardly window dressing) is Pietro’s wife, Imma (Maria Pia Calzone), a savvy, no-nonsense woman with skills and ideas of her own.
When the don stumbles at a critical time for his clan, the trio engages in a power struggle with deadly — and riveting — results.
Gomorrah airs Wednesdays at 10/9CT beginning Aug. 24 on SundanceTV.