Gomorrah – 8.5

At first I dismissed this as a Sicilian version of the Sopranos without plot, humor, recognizable characters or professional camerawork. By the end, though, I knew the people and their stories had coalesced into a bleak, violent and scary world of an Italian crime “family” that read more like a nature documentary in its realism than the fiction you wished it were. There was a subtle arc, as we started with the young boy delivering groceries, watched how he was inexorably drawn into the gang, and ended with the world of the bosses, which made the child’s play along the way, even with machine guns, seem just like that. A postscript spelled out the impact this criminal syndicate has on people around it: a 20% increase in cancer, for starters, in the areas where they dump toxic waste. This was not for the fainthearted, but it was remarkable moviemaking.

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