starring Salvatore Abruzzese, Simone Sacchettino, Salvatore Ruocco, Vincenzo Fabricino
screenplay by Maurizio Braucci & Ugo Chiti & Gianni Di Gregorio & Matteo Garrone & Massimo Gaudioso & Roberto Saviano, based on the book by Saviano
directed by Matteo Garrone
starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor
screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup
directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan
by Walter Chaw Dropping us in the middle of Italian slum Scampia, itself smack dab in the middle of nothing, Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah (Gomorra) is the Hud of gangster flicks, all deglamourized, harsh, expressionist stripping-away of illusions and idealism to reveal the gasping, grasping emptiness underneath. Like Hud, the source of that idealism is years of cinema supporting a romanticized iconography: the American western in Martin Ritt's film, the collected works of Francis Coppola and Martin Scorsese in Garrone's peek inside the ways of this thing of ours. Unlike Hud, there's no intimation of a "happy" ending for the sociopaths of Gomorrah--no feeling that for whatever the cost to a normalized (idealized?) existence, the outcasts and opportunists living their lives in imitation of Tony Montana are doomed to their tough-guy surfaces and the anonymous deaths predicted for them during a brutal prologue. Non-narrative and populated by a non-professional cast of locals and unusual suspects, the picture, however steeped in naturalism, is finally a formalist piece about as free of structure as Sartre--and every bit as meticulous. This "No Exit" (and the French title of Sartre's play fascinatingly translates, when applied to a discussion of a film, as "In Camera") and its unlocked oubliette is Scampia: The players in organized crime are imprisoned there by choice, trapped by the validation they desire from one another.