MOVIE REVIEW: Suburra

In Italy a gangster known as ‘Samurai’ is trying to arrange a deal to turn a coastal town from a seemingly sleepy tourist spot into the Las Vegas of Europe.  Those around him make this task near impossible.  The film is broken up into different characters all linked to this business deal.  With the Pope about to step down and a Government in turmoil what will the Mafia enforcer have to do to keep the deal on track.

Crime dramas seem to fall into two categories these days, the exceptional and the abysmal.  The abysmal are far too common and are overly made with too many good actors in parts that are badly written.  The exceptional are few and far between and are very often overlooked by the general public.  I have to stand up straight and say in a clear voice that this Italian language is worth checking out in any way that you can.

From the Michael Mann type score to the performances that draw you into this gritty underworld it all just creates a realistic world.  You have a young Gangster trying to step out of his Father’s shadow and keep this land deal on track, a Politician who likes young girls who is looking to further his political career by aiding the legal side of the deal, and a family of Italian Gypsies who are trying to move up from being loan sharks.  There is so much going on you feel that you are watching two or three films, or one of those BBC imported European dramas.

The realistic and gritty nature of the film makes it easy to relate to.  How many times have we seen corrupt politicians?  In Ireland probably more than we should.  The different stories all seem too far apart during the film to ever come together, which is a credit to the writer and the director who majestically negotiate with the story to conjure up something that is going to be a classic of the future.  The hypnotic score keeps you glued to the screen, waiting for the story to progress, as you quickly become involved in the lives the characters.  The brutal and senseless violence of the film shocks you out of your thinking that this is a run of the mill gangster film.

There are a lot of moments of sexual content, drug taking, and violence, but none of this interferes with the character development that is going on.  You care about the character no matter if they are drug dealers, loan sharks, or scumbag politicians.  That’s not an easy thing to do.

Why should you go see Suburra?  Well it’s a great gangland film.  They used to make these in America a lot and they did them well.  Now Europe is the place to be for gritty crime drama.  Since becoming the lord and master of film reviewing it has been down to Europe to provide the better crime dramas.  From A Second Chance to The Treatment there are so many great crime films from the European Continent that you are only selling yourself short if you don’t.

Suburra is masterful film-making and surgical storytelling at it’s best.  There are one or two moments that you question the choices and some of the gun fights go in an unrealistic manner as those guns wouldn’t have that many bullets without reloading.  I’m picking points here that you may be saying ‘Oh C’mon you wonderful man’ but seriously when the rest of the film is that good, which it is, then you have to seek to point out the downsides.  For me Suburra is up there with Heat, The Godfather, and The Godfather part 2.  I don’t make that comparison lightly folks, the long running time is just perfect, I like long moves as you pay the same amount of cash for a 80 minute film or a 4 hour numb bum film.

Director: Stefano Sollima
Writers: Giancarlo De Cataldo, Carlo Bonini, etc..
Stars: Pierfrancesco Favino, Greta Scarano,Jean-Hugues Anglade

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