26th Oct2014

‘Gomorrah: The Complete Season One’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf


When you look at the fictional world of the crime families, especially those of the Mafia it’s about tradition and respect.  Gomorrah is a drama that looks at what happens when respect is not given and tradition is attacked. The falling of a family empire is rarely a peaceful death, it calls for blood and it calls for sacrifice and it leaves the victims of the fallout scarred forever.

Gomorrah focuses on the Savastano family and Ciro di Marzio (Marco D’Amore) one of their most respected workers. When the head of the family Petro (Fortunato Cerlino) is imprisoned for murdering somebody he believed was a police informant, Ciro sees this as his chance to move in on the family power.  Catching the ear of Genny (Salvatore Esposito) the incompetent son and now heir of the family he works his way into a position to take over. When Genny’s mother has his other ear though and flexes her family muscle Ciro finds he may have met his match.

Gomorrah is very much about the politics within a Mafia family and how when the status quo is threatened the desire for power can corrupt and destroy with bloodthirsty ease.  Both Gino and the mother Imma are strong-willed where Genny is at first weak, though this changes to make the power struggle a three-way battle. Through the manipulations of both Gino and Imma he is toughened up, and warped to such a point that he does become a strong leader, but one that lacks experience. His reign as head of the family brings youth to the business but also a dangerous impulsiveness that threatens to burn too brightly, to only fizzle out. They lack the experience of the elder members who are easily disgruntled by the newer and younger faces moving in.

Ciro is smart, but also his desire for power blinds him to the fact he is not truly a part of the Savastano family, but he does have control of the elder workers and this is where conflict comes in. The battle between Ciro and Imma also causes tension, and in many ways is the more interesting side of the story.  Imma is a character that is hard to trust at times and often the audience wonders if she is damaging the business by her actions, but many times we are proved wrong by the fact that all of her decisions reap their rewards, she is the strongest member of the family (with Petro gone) and keeps it together. The way Gomorrah builds up the tension between Ciro and Imma, and then brings a stronger Genny into the mix is very well planned out and is what makes Gomorrah so interesting to watch, to see where the power struggle will go next.

In some ways there is almost a suggestion that this could be seen as the Italian The Sopranos, and there are some comparisons that could be made. Gomorrah is much more serious though and dark in tone. The Sopranos can also be called dark, but it still managed a somewhat comic side to itself at times, and you grow to like the characters. In Gomorrah Ciro is set up as an anti-hero of sorts and there are times you do want him to succeed in his scheming, but there is little to redeem him or any of the other characters for their actions. These characters are selfish and focused on only themselves, especially with Ciro who has a Machiavellian style, making others do his deeds so as to be able to buffer the fallout away from himself when things go bad.  His fatal flaw is the fact that his actions tend to cost him dearly, even put his family in danger. These costs are worth it in his eyes and this is what him hard to like even as an anti-hero, he lacks that humanity that we need to see in our heroes, a chance for redemption.

Gomorrah is an interesting show because it lacks that feeling of safety in its story design, no characters are safe from death and the tone is so dark that even the most innocent of actions feel to have dark undertones. With a surprise ending to the finale that leaves space open for the continuation of the story it’ll be interesting to see where the show can go from there, and where the story will go. With so much blood being spilt though it is clear that many things will have changed. Gripping, dark and explosive the Italian style of Gomorrah is a refreshing change from many of the shows we are spoon fed from the UK and America making it definitely one that you should be checking out.

***** 5/5

Gomorrah is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from October 27th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

2 Responses to “‘Gomorrah: The Complete Season One’ DVD Review”

  • pearl

    Brilliant series genius loved it best I have ever watched.Italy is producing the finest actors in the world

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