Suburra – Film Review by Robert Dooley
Director: Stefano Sollima
Writers: Giancarlo De Cataldo (story), Carlo Bonini (story)
Stars: Pierfrancesco Favino, Greta Scarano, Jean-Hugues Anglade
Using a seven day countdown timer to “The Apocalypse” of the resignation of a government, Stefano Sollima’s Suburra is a gangland epic which examines where religion, politics and crime intersect along with those parties caught in between.
The basic premise follows the attempt to make a region of Rome the new Las Vegas. The plan is overseen by Samurai, an old fashioned mafia man with connections between all the families, an Italian MP and the Vatican bank to help fund the deal. This however is a new Rome, one which doesn’t play by the old rules of honour and the film descends into blood letting as all the players get their hands dirty.
The film is an intense neo noir thriller and hops between several different stories slowly threading them together. Opening with MP Filippo Malgradi and his penchant for cocaine and underage prostitutes, it is his vices which lead to the warring of the factions. Each of the gangs have their own distinct style whether as to what their homes look like or even as to how the scenes are shot. Number 8, who runs the area where they are looking to build their project, has all his scenes lit with a neon glow whereas when we follow Malgradi everything looks a bit more sterile.
Special mention has to go to Adamo Dionisi who plays Romani gang leader Manfredi Anacleti. He is a truly terrifying presence whenever on screen, ready to erupt at any moment and impossible to predict how he will act next.
It does feel however that they had attempted too much. The story is too big and would be better suited to a miniseries, at times it felt like a diagram was needed to keep up with who each of the characters were and how they all fit together. There is so much going on in this film that it’s hard to summarise. In a time when Hollywood offer us over simplistic fare perhaps this is an admirable attribute. On the whole, Suburra is a well shot, compelling and nerve-racking experience.