See Naples And Die
Tripwire continues its list of its Top 30 Crime and Police shows, selected by its editor-in-chief and senior editor. Counting down to its first choice at the end, here’s its 5th entry, Sky Atlantic’s Gomorrah…
Creator: Roberto Saviano
Stars: Salvatore Esposito, Marco D’Amore, Cristiana Dell’Anna, Fortunato Cerlino
Based on creator Saviano’s book about the crime syndicate the Camorra in Naples, southern Italy, Gomorrah is a raw gangster show made by Sky Atlantic. The viewer sees the action through the eyes of Don Pietro’s (Cerlino) swaggering lieutenant Ciro (D’Amore) and at its heart is the relationship between Pietro, Ciro and Pietro’s rash son Gennaro (Esposito). Gennaro has a hair-trigger temper but Pietro is unconvinced that he is suitable to take over the family business when he is no longer around. D’Amore plays Ciro a cold, implacable figure while Pietro commands fear and respect from all around him. Esposito’s Gennaro is an unpredictable character who initially lacks the Machiavellian nous of his father.
Naples is a place of squalor and poverty with many of its inhabitants living in ugly post-modernist boxes and cheek by jowl with each other. The wealthy meanwhile live in places like the walled compound that Don Pietro inhabits, a necessary evil as he is constantly the target of assassination attempts.
Gomorrah deals with the internecine battles between Pietro’s family and his rivals but it also builds up the tension between him, Ciro and future successor Gennaro. The series starts with Genarro seeing the lieutenant as his mentor but the dynamic soon shifts and before long they are on opposing sides.
Cerlino is magnificently cruel and brutal as the head of the family, while D’Amore holds the whole thing together thanks to his portrayal of a protagonist riven by conflict and shifting loyalties. Esposito manages to bring a kind of tough vulnerability to the Don’s son, offering a little more depth and complexity to a role that could be seen as thankless.
The setting is used adeptly, offering us a snapshot of a city controlled by the Camorra with the police doing their best to keep it from boiling over into full- blown civil war between the various crews.
Gomorrah is an ambitious series that can hold its own with the best in American drama thanks to some keen writing, sophisticated characterisation and a dramatic landscape that holds the viewer in a vice-like grip. It also utilises the Neapolitan s
Gomorrah is on Amazon Prime in the UK and on HBO Max in the US now