Gomorrah: The Next Big Thing?

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‘For more than a month, I’ve been meaning to commend Gomorrah to you, but some other funeral always gets in the way. We’re now up to episode six, but because television is no longer a one-way ratchet, you can catch up, and you should. This is Shakespearean tragedy crossed with The Godfather and the best bits of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It’s set in Naples, in Italian with subtitles, and is the best bit of bloodletting on TV at the moment’. Those are the words of Sunday Times TV critic A.A. Gill, who like most others has been bowled over by the stunning Italian crime drama Gomorrah.

Inspired by the acclaimed and controversial expose of the Naples Camorra from Roberto Saviano, the series covers different elements that were first explored in Matteo Garrone’s 2008 film adaptation. The series primarily follows Ciro, the right hand man of Pietro Savastano, the fierce godfather of the Camorra, a feared crime organisation in Naples. As the series progresses Ciro eventually finds himself in command of the Camorra after his boss is handed a lengthy prison sentence; a role that he relishes with some trepidation.

Now on its 7th episode of 12, the series has already drawn comparisons to some of the great modern TV series from America. “As in the original book by Saviano, who oversaw the screenplay, the mob is here framed within the larger context of the global, neo-liberal economy. If further developed in this direction, Gomorrah might well turn into Italy’s answer to The Wire” says Giovanni Vimercati of Variety.

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Bim Adewunmi of The Guardian also noticed similarities with The Wire “If you squint, Gomorrah doesn’t look a million miles away from the Baltimore of David Simon’s superlative The Wire. Or even the Brooklyn of Scorsese’s Goodfellas”.

Ellen E Jones of The Independent heaps high praise on Gomorrah and highlights the characters similarities to those of auteur Quentin Tarantino. “Our hero Ciro and his mentor-in-crime Attilio are gangsters in the Tarantino tradition; they like to flap their mouths about anything and everything. Everything, that is, except the armed robbery/petrol bombing/drive-by shooting they’re about to commit”.

Could Gomorrah become Italy’s answer to The Wire or The Sopranos or even Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction? If you are intrigued by this stylish and gruelling depiction of mafia, it is showing on Sky Atlantic every Monday from 9pm and is repeated throughout the week.