What I'm Watching: Gomorrah

Back for its second season, Gomorrah is the superb Italian organised crime series filmed on location in Naples and based on Robert Saviano’s 2006 book Gomorra (which also spawned a 2008 film of the same name – in case you stumble across both and are puzzled).

Al Fresco meetings

Unlike the film, the dialogue in the series is in less thick Neapolitan dialect so if you’re a standard Italian speaker you should be fine following it, but it comes with excellent subtitles anyway which – if you’re not used to watching anything with subtitles – you soon forget about as you get into the storyline.

More meetings. This time on some lovely wasteland

What I like about Gomorrah, which tells the story of in-fighting and lethal plots within the violent Camorra empire, is how it’s not at all glamorous. Forget the Sopranos, forget the glossy New York mob films that we’re all used to: this is about shit European haircuts, dangerous teenage drug dealers on raspy scooters, boys in Napoli shirts aiming for spray-painted goals and little girls playing with pretty dolls in concrete playgrounds outside brutalist housing complexes like the notorious le vele di scampia in the Naples suburbs. It’s about real life bleak landscapes left highly polluted from years of corruption in the local refuse departments.

Even the boss and his wife from Season 1, whose ill-gotten gains and expensive taste fail to buy class, live in an orgy of gilt and animal print surrounded by contrasting breeze blocks and barbed wire, guarded by henchman in flammable tracksuits and leather jackets off the back of a lorry. She’s no Carmela Soprano with tennis lessons and clam bakes, and as the power struggles and storylines develop you begin to learn that the few women characters are hardfaced and even those with any semblance of a heart are still very much a product of their environment. They’re realistic and it’s hard to sympathise with anyone male or female in the show and that’s what I love about it. It’s gritty and stark, and for hundreds of thousands of people affected by the Camorra’s hold on the region, it’s real life.

When that ‘luxury furniture boutique’ on Instagram tell you they don’t do refunds
Donna Imma, major hard-faced cow

Season 1 & 2 are both currently available on Sky’s On Demand service and definitely worth watching from the beginning.

Filming on location in Naples

Vele di Scampia, Mario Spada

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