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Director:  Matteo Garrone
Year Released:  2008
Rating:  2.0

A grim glimpse of life in impoverished Southern Italy where the Camorra - essentially the Mafia - proves that crime does pay and that crossing them is a bad idea (the author of the source text, investigative journalist Roberto Saviano, is currently a marked man). Garrone spreads it out a little too far with all the characters and storylines he juggles, not exactly giving each their proper time and attention - there are your gun-mad teens, a young mob recruit, a tailor, a waste dumper and his protégée and so on - and there are pacing problems, where it - on occasion - becomes a little flat. I happen to like the hand-held cameras and dark mood - this isn't a glorification of the lifestyle (they don't look stylish or arrive in fancy cars and aren't attractive) but a lament that this kind of murderous underworld treachery is allowed to continue, and of course the most shocking moment of the movie comes with one of the very last intertitles, stating that Camorra money is helping to fund the replacement World Trade Center. Neither Garrone nor Saviano see the dark empire turning to salt anytime soon - maybe there's no God around to do such a thing - and this ends quite grimly with two more corpses about to be buried in sand.

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