Published on October 10th, 2022 | by Rob Mammone
Gomorrah Season 1-3 DVD review
Summary: A criminal and family drama, Gomorrah tells the tale of the Savastano Clan, their loves, their hates and their all consuming lust for power and money.
Based on the novel by Roberto Saviano, originally broadcast on Sky Atlantic, and starring Marco D’Amore, Salvatore Esposito Fortunato Cerlino and Maria Pia Calzone, with Saviano as Executive Producer
Based on Roberto Saviano’s expose of the Neapolitan Mafia, the Camorra, Gomorrah is a sprawling, epic, beast of a series that delves deep in the fundamental issue of all good crime series – the impact of family on those heavily involved in the criminal underworld. For his pains, Saviano has had to live under constant police protection for exposing the breadth and depth of the penetration of the Camorra into the lives and government of the people of the city of Naples, its region, and indeed the spread of its tentacles around the world.
The first three seasons that form this box set centre around three characters – Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino), head of the Savastano clan, Ciro D’Marzio, a member of the clan yearning for advancement into the higher echelons and Gennaro Savastano, Pietro’s son and when we first meet him, a playboy and socialite who eventually becomes as hardened and brutal as his father.
Like The Godfather, like The Sopranos, the true power of Gomorrah is not necessarily in the criminal enterprise itself (though that is one of the key dark attractions of movies and television shows like this – the seeming untouchability of the characters as they import drugs with impunity into Italy and Europe) but on the family dynamics at play, within the Savastano clan. Pietro wants very much to have Gennaro assume control of the clan when the time is right, and enlists the ambitious Ciro to train his son up. Unfortunately, Gennaro’s mother mistrusts Ciro, and sidelines him. Stung, Ciro looks for other avenues, falling in with clan rival Salvatore Conte. Betrayal heaps on betrayal, and soon a Savastano clan civil war is in play, with a huge bodycount on both sides as the family splits, the old guard headed fighting against the efforts of Gennaro to bring in new blood and displace the old timers.
Gomorrah twists and turns over the length of these three series, bringing to the screen a vast array of characters, all with their own motivations and desires. Money is the root of all evil, and sitting side by side with it, is overweening ambition for power. Ciro desires it, and kills for it, but loses his soul in the process. Gennaro, initially reluctant, then sees the advantages of what control of the Savastano clan can bring, and sheds his playboy image like a cheap suit, and transforms himself into a hardened, ruthless criminal willing to displace his father’s cronies (Pietro is imprisoned early in Season One and soon loses control of the clan, with his wife Immacolata smoothly moving into his position and favouring her son).
Season Two and Three further develop the storylines, with the repercussions of the ending to Season One rippling outwards in unpredictable ways. New players enter the fray as the story develops and characters have the unnerving habit of getting killed. The further develops Gomorrah’s labyrinthine plot, as well as demonstrating the very dangerous lifestyle everyone involved willing embraces.
One of the key aspects of Gomorrah is its use of locations, to evoke a sense of realism and place. Like The Sopranos made excellent use of New Jersey, in Gomorrah, the Scampia neighbourhood of Naples provides much of the evocative scene setting. The look of the series, all greys and steel blues, also makes its mark on the viewer, establishing that the drug trade isn’t as glamorous as Miami Vice insisted back in the 1980s. This is a gloomy world, full of the expectation of betrayal, death and sorrow, and the cinematography matches.
There are no Special Features on this set, though the non-Italian speakers out there will be thankful for the English subtitle options. But really, at just over 30 hours of television, who wants five minute ‘special’ features crafted by the promotional department, when you can settle down, immerse yourself even, in a heady, breathtaking evocation of monstrous men (and women) stabbing each other in the back on their way to (a temporary) glory, before the inevitable bullet in the head reminds the audience that crime really, really doesn’t pay.
Runtime: 1830 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Sound: Season 1 – 2.0 stereo. Season 2 & 3 – 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: Optional English
Rating: MA 15+