SBS has a bona fide gem on their hands with this Italian crime drama. ‘The Wire’ was the best show I’ve seen in this genre, but this comes close, damn close. ‘Gomorrah’ is a TV series based on the book of the same name by Roberto Saviano, published in 2006.
That book literally exploded, selling over 2 million copies in Italy alone, but it’s come at a cost for the author, who’s been given Police protection after bosses of the crime network ‘Camorra’, from which the book is based, threatened his life.
The show follows ‘Ciro’, an ambitious young solider in the ‘Savastano’ family. It’s a clan, based in Secondigliano, a suburb in northern Naples. Most of the ‘soldiers’ in these clans are young, tracksuit wearing, moped scooter riding thugs brandishing semi automatic weapons, who cut drugs, or carry out assassinations, either of rival clan members or locals who get caught up in their underground world.
But ‘Ciro’ isn’t content just to follow orders, he is smart, and sees opportunities everywhere to work his way up the gangster food chain. He is also close to the ‘Savastano’ son, ‘Gennaro’, a podgy party animal who is happy snorting his nights away in local nightclubs.
Ciro’s ultimate thirst for power will shake this and rival clans to its core. ‘Gomorrah’ is a show that never lets go, some scenes are brutally violent, the music is driving, the stares are lingering and the cinematography is sweeping.
Alleyways are grimy, apartment blocks are rundown, and mansions are gaudy. It’s shot in an almost documentary style, the realism feels so real. As with all great crime dramas, think ‘Sopranos’ or ‘Breaking Bad’, characters transform, and usually not in a good way. The more evil they become you can see their souls vanishing as the killing rages on.
Nobody is safe and don’t get too attached to a character, they could be snuffed out next episode. There are currently four seasons running on SBS, with a fifth and final season to be released this year, but be warned, this show isn’t for everyone, a few scenes are disturbingly wince inducing, but if you like your crime dramas dirty, you have to watch this.
If they nail the final season, ‘Gomorrah’ will be a classic, one which will be talked about for years to come.