Gomorrah 3, Sky Atlantic

Gomorrah, Series 03, Unit Stills, Salavtore Esposito as Genny Savastano, © 2017 Beta Film

Long live the king – Salavtore Esposito, right, as Genny Savastano

Trigger fingers at the ready for another season of family business – Neapolitan-style

★★★★

Sky Atlantic, Wednesday, 31 January, 9pm

SEE NAPLES and die – which is what a lot of people do in Gomorrah. As the third series hits Sky Atlantic, the fallout from the assassination of boss Don Pietro Savastano begins.

The episode opens in typical style, with an overhead shot of the Don’s bloody body. Genny, his son, once seen as the bumbling dolt, is now nastier and in charge. The new Don.

Long Live the King, this opener is called. And that brilliantly captures the chaos and blood-letting that surrounds the change of regime amid flying accusations.

Can Genny stay in control of Secondigliano?

Gomorrah, Series 03, Unit Stills, © 2017 Beta Film

End of the Don – Pietro

Genny could be about to take control of the Secondigliano area of the city. But can he get a grip of his clan’s hardened soldiers? And can he convince the Camorra’s ruling council that he is the man for the job.

This acclaimed Italian drama, based on Roberto Saviano‘s excellent non-fiction book, first reached us in 2014. It is worth catching for its authentic feel. Shot on the streets of the Neapolitan suburbs, it is mean and menacing.

This is a world of grim public housing estates, cut-throat rivalries and power-crazed machinations.

Salvatore Esposito as Genny

Gomorrah, Series 03, Unit Stills, © 2017 Beta Film

Tension – Patrizia and Genny

Believe me, it is no advert for the lifestyle. Those who grab the throne are immediately under siege. This is also a world in which family can harbour the most brutal betrayal.

Not all of the acting is good. Salvatore Esposito as Genny, for example, is one-dimensional. But he is surrounded by a rich gallery of performers.

It is an adrenalin-pounding season opener, with a stunning twist and shift of power before the end. Revenge served cold, indeed.

Gomorrah 2, Sky Atlantic

GOMORRAH - Series 2, Episode 12

See Naples and die – Marco D’Amore as Ciro

The Glocks are out for a revenge-fuelled return of the Neapolitan mob fest 

★★★ Sky Atlantic, Wednesdays, 9pm

ALONG WITH the Renaissance and tragic opera, another great Italian art form is the blood feud. And the Neapolitan Camorra has explored the dark side of the human condition through internecine vendettas as well as anyone.

GOMORRAH - Series 2, Episode 3

New alliances – clan leaders divvy up the Savastano empire

The gruesome finale of the first season of Gomorrah, which is based on Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction bestseller about the Neapolitan mob, was spectacularly bloody, with Imma, matriarch of the Savastano clan, murdered, her son Genny betrayed and shot by Ciro at his own daughter’s recital, and generations of soldiers on both sides wiped out.

Series two plunges us straight back into the mayhem. Wounded Genny on a gurney, his father Don Pietro busted out of prison looking for revenge, Ciro’s wife terrified of assassination and Ciro now desperately forming an alliance with Don Pietro’s old enemy Salvatore Conte.

Got it? Basically, no one trusts anyone.

Marco D’Amore as Ciro

Part of the fascination of this gritty, grimy series is why anyone bothers with the Camorra way of life. Yes, there are riches to be had, but you can’t turn your back on your best friend for a minute. Get to the top and you’ll probably end up living in an underground hovel hiding from every law enforcement agency in Italy.

GOMORRA - Series 2, Episode 1

Allies – Ciro and Salvatore

This is a fictionalised take on Saviano‘s eye-opening book, which is shocking in its depiction of the industrial scale of the mob’s operations. The series reduces the narrative to gang level, but it is still a fascinating portrait of depraved morals and warped loyalties.

The backdrop to events is once again the concrete housing hell of Vele di Scampia, a fortress of deprivation and criminality, and the series has an air of authenticity, with characters speaking the Neapolitan dialect barely understood by the rest of Italy.

Marco D’Amore once again leads the story as Ciro, but there seems to be an attempt to thrust some female characters into proceedings, with Ciro’s wife Debora featuring more prominently, among others.

Episodes 5 and 6 are coming up this week. Hang onto your armchairs…

Gomorrah, Sky Atlantic, PREVIEW

Brutal – the lives (and architecture) of Gomorrah. Pics: Sky Atlantic

Rating: ★★★★

Sky Atlantic: starts Monday, 4 August, 9pm

Story: Brutal Neapolitan crime organisation the Camorra wage a bitter war against a rival. 

THIS PROBING look at the Neapolitan crime mob, the Camorra, is based on a revelatory and bestselling exposé by ‘vigilante journalist’ Roberto Saviano and follows a 2008 film adaptation of his book.

Gritty is an overused adjective when it comes to crime dramas, but Gomorrah has the social and economic context to pack quite a punch. It’s filmed in the grim suburb of Scampia, where mob drugs infect disintegrating 1960s housing estates and motorways cut off the area from the baroque splendour of Naples itself.

The largely unknown cast speak in a thick Neapolitan dialect and the series is a dark meditation on a dysfunctional world in which a man can have dinner and an espresso with his family, before going off to take part in a massed gun slaughter.

Marco D’Amore as Ciro

Pietro Savastano is a clan godfather who, as the action begins, sends his soldiers to teach Salvatore

Powers on the throne – Don Pietro and his wife, Imma

Conte a lesson after his drug dealing has infringed their turf. Ciro and his mentor Attilio set light to gasoline on the front door of Conte’s mother’s apartment while he’s there eating.

As retaliation follows bloodbath and further retaliation, the tensions in Don Pietro’s outfit are exposed. Ciro, played by Marco D’Amore, is unhappy at Pietro’s rash and ill-planned attack on Conte, which results in Attilio’s death.

Pietro is pleased to get the upper hand over Conte, but Ciro, an opinionated right-hand man, yearns for vengeance against their enemy.

The action scenes are shockingly convincing

Gomorrah is a 12-parter and has been a huge hit in Italy. Much of it is filmed verité-style on dark streets by Stefano Sollima, who also made the hit series Romanzo Criminale, and the action scenes –
such as the bomb thrown into a cafe – are shockingly convincing.

Ciro and Genny

The contrasts between the private family men and their brutality to outsiders, between the vast drug wealth and the squalor of Scampia, between the vulgar bad-taste mansion of Pietro and the desperation of his underlings are constantly absorbing.

This Sky Italia production is a cut above most crime dramas around at the moment, and will linger in your thoughts for some time.

Cast: Marco D’Amore Ciro Di Marzio, Fortunato Cerlino Pietro Savastano, Maria Pia Calzone Imma Savastano, Salvatore Esposito Genny Savastano, Marco Palvetti Salvatore Conte, Domenico Balsamo Massimo, Elena Starace Noemi, Antonio Milo Attilio O’Trovatello, Mimmo Esposito Renato Bolletta

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