March 7, 2013

How does one escape poverty? What opportunities are presented to those impoverished to improve their material well-being? What is poverty in general? Gomorrah answers all three questions.


The solutions to the questions are not idyllic. They all involve gang-violence, Italian style. Or, Mafioso. The film does not center itself on anyone character in this gangland universe. Instead, it shows many different facets of a machine that the poor use to nourish themselves, and to create an identity. This identity is typified by working up the ranks of a violent occupation. What choice do the youth have, who are no older than 12 years old? This is the accepted way of life for a perceptible Italian government concrete-ghetto. Self-fulfillment is seen, by necessity, through holding a gun, transporting coke, or being an accomplice to an assassination.


Clearly, this film is as much a critique of Italian government – and by extension Italian society – than it is of the gangsters that swell in numbers and act viciously. The extent in which Italian society intervenes in this tragic mayhem is the occasional police bust for selling drugs. They do not have the momentum to thwart a well-connected network of men whose interests are aligned in sustaining the illegal operations. They have created their own opportunities, and their own means to prosperity, through collaborating with immorality.


If the youth and their families had a culture which embraced self-perfection, and therefore crafting of the intellect, it may be possible for disinterest toward mob violence to saturate the ghetto. But the basis of poverty is that it begets more of it. It is an endless stream which will only change its current from its own volition, not through any outside intervention. Thus, public education, assuming its quality is exceptional (which would be a rarity), is not sufficient a resource to assist in dismantling the nourishment gangsters offer.


Gangsters do not offer simply a vocation, nor bread and wine. They offer an identity. They offer a youngster, from a humiliating background, an opportunity to be envied. Science and mathematical pursuits do not foster such a strong sense of awareness of significance. The immediate impression of respect by a gang-member circling the residency is much more profound to a growing boy than the wonders of the universe. After all, not many in his microcosm know who Isaac Newton was, but they do know the names and the level of dignity of the mafia troop.


The film does not limit itself to ghetto warfare. It shows the levels of hierarchy in the organization, towards upper-management goons who shave expenses off of companies through illegitimately undermining their competition. The successful who enjoy these tainted fruits of labor, simply shrug at the fact of life. It is as if they did not participate, someone else would. Their service then is a necessity to society. It is how “it has always been”.


Grade: A



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