Total Film - 11/01/2008 5 stars out of 5 -- "It's a deglamourised shot of wake-up juice that strips a brutal reality bare....Accept that every mobster movie you've ever seen is rose-tinted nonsense. Now take a dip in this icy plunge-pool of a picture."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2008
"[A] masterpiece of the genre....Garrone opts here for a strongly realistic and severe cinematography....Another sign of the film's sophistication is its austere soundtrack."
Empire - 11/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t has an under-the-skin quality that makes for an outstanding drama. It's a film that paints a full, ugly portrait of the Camorra corruptors and their corruption..."
Film Comment - 01/01/2009
"SCARFACE looms large in GOMORRAH, an unflinching corrective to the mafia film."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/26/2008
Included in Entertainment Weekly's 2008 Films Of The Year -- "[Y]ou've never seen anything like GOMORRA....Garone shoots in a fast, off-the-cuff nonfiction style..."
Rolling Stone - 02/05/2009 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "It's brilliant filmmaking, a wake-up call that means to shake you, and does."
New York Times - 02/13/2009
"[A] corrosive and ferociously unsentimental fictional look at Italian organized crime....The sense that you are visiting an alien world is critical to the film's forceful grip, which immediately takes hold of you..."
Wall Street Journal - 02/13/2009
"[T]he dramatic structure is complex, the details are instructive, and the sense of tragedy is momentous."
Washington Post - 02/27/2009
"Garrone was a painter before becoming a filmmaker; the training reveals itself through hauntingly stark images in which characters seem to get swallowed by an unforgiving environment."
Chicago Sun-Times - 02/25/2009
"The film is a curative for the romanticism of THE GODFATHER and SCARFACE....GOMORRAH looks grimy and sullen, and has no heroes, only victims....That is its power."
Entertainment Weekly - 02/27/2009
"[A] gripping, clear-eyed drama....Don't look for resolution, romanticism, or comic relief....Instead, there's the power of damning truth." -- Grade: A
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/27/2009
Included in Chicago Sun-Times's "The Best Foreign Films Of 2009" -- "Remorseless drama about the foot solders of the Camorra..."
Matteo Garrone's GOMORRAH is a dense, sprawling exposť of the corruption plaguing the communities of Naples and Caserta in modern-day Italy. The all-powerful Camorra syndicate influences the lives of even the most innocent citizens. In a manner similar to THE WIRE, Garrone tells his story from many different angles, resulting in a complicated narrative that often feels novelistic. In many cases, the revolving stories never overlap or intersect. While that may be jarring to those viewers who are used to having their strings tied neatly for them by a film's conclusion, Garrone's decision results in an experience that feels much more honest and true. We witness the syndicate's impact from the top down and from the inside out, following a cavalcade of characters who are all trying in their own ways to escape the deadly world in which they live.
Based on the book by Roberto Saviano, Garrone's crime epic is a powerful indictment of the corruption that is running rampant in Italy. His decision to present such a wide spectrum of characters enables him to show just how deeply everyone is impacted by this terrifying, unchecked display of criminal power. Cinematically, he employs a dizzying array of styles in order to further establish the frighteningly ungoverned atmosphere that pervades this community. GOMORRAH succeeds as both visceral entertainment and thoughtful social commentary.