Directed by Stefano Sollima
Country: Italy / France
Once there was “Gomorrah”, a powerful examination about the Neapolitan mafia. Now there’s “Suburra”, another Italian eye-opener, whose title derives from an area of Rome. This film also addresses the Italian crime syndicate but focusing its strong connection with the abusive political system through dirty schemes and games of power, lust, corruption, treason, and revenge.
The story spans over eight days of November 2011, and starts by bringing out the true nature of the parliamentary politician, Filippo Malgradi (Pierfrancesco Favino), a lascivious, prepotent man who relies on the taste of his regular hooker, Ninni (Giulia Gorietti), to find a second woman to participate in their wild sexual sessions loaded with drugs.
One night, before explaining to his wife how busy he was at work, he goes to a fancy hotel where Ninni was waiting for him with a minor girl, as he has asked. Sadly, the youngster doesn’t resist to an overdose, leaving the other two in the verge of a panic attack. To avoid a public scandal and get rid of the body, Ninni remembers to call the atrocious Dagger (Giacomo Ferrara), the younger brother of Manfredi Anacleti (Adamo Dionisi), the face of a dangerously established gipsy turf.
Simultaneously, a highly respected Mafiosi, Samurai (Claudio Amendola), is looking for the families’ interests in the real estate field, but for that to occur, he needs to convince Aureliano (Alessandro Borghi) to refrain his impetuous actions of violence for a while. To put it simple: peace is imperative among the turfs as Malgradi tries to pass a suburban law that allows the construction of the huge real estate project.
However, Samurai’s intentions are shattered when Dagger, who had threatened to snitch Malgradi, is slain by the tempestuous Aureliano. Manfredi swears to avenge the death of his brother, getting the name of the presumable killer from the well-related Seba (Elio Germano) who was made responsible for his father’s debts by the Anacleti clan.
The director, Stefano Sollima (“All Cops Are Bastards”), certainly took advantage of the fact that the screenplay was co-written by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo, the authors of the novel that inspired the film.
Despite the numerous characters, the filmmaker articulates well the relationships between them within a lucid structure, as he diffuses a bunch of situations that characterize the ignominious state of a corrupted society.
Even using a feverish approach, which in some occasions would have benefitted if toned down, he still manages to keep the film controlled for most of the times. The finale, impulsive and slightly unorthodox, ends up being the movie’s weakest part. Nevertheless, this didn’t hamper Mr. Sollima, Bonini, and De Cataldo from expressing directly their discontentment about the Italian political/criminal network through a loud, critical voice.