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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Gomorra - La Serie" )

 

directed by Stefano Sollima, Claudio Cupellini, Francesca Comencini
Italy 2014

 

Described by the UK DVD/Blu-ray cover art as "Italy's answer to Breaking Bad, the Italian television series GOMORRA (or GOMORRAH as it is sold in the UK and US) is actually loosely based on the novel by Roberto Saviano previously adapted into the feature GOMORRAH by Matteo Garrone in 2008. Whereas the feature dealt with five intersecting stories involving the Casalesi clan of the Neapolitan Camorra crime syndicate, the television series provides a decidedly ugly look at the Sevastano clan and the ambitions of its head Don Pietro (Fortunato Cerlino), his faithful wife Immaculata (Maria Pia Calzone, EQUILIBRIUM) – aka "Lady Imma" – their twenty-year-old pleasure-loving son Gennaro (Salvatore Esposito), as well as orphaned and ambitious Ciro (Marco D'Amore, LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED) in which the ambition for power blackens the soul with no opportunity for redemption. Ordered by Don Pietro to teach a lesson to up-and-coming hash kingpin Salvatore Conte (Marco Palvetti), Ciro and his mentor Attilio (Antonio Milo) torch the apartment Conte shares with his mother who survive the attack and go into hiding. When Conte retaliates on a grand scale by having his men shoot up and bomb a café in Sevastano territory, Don Pietro orders an immediate response even though he is well aware that an attack on Conte's heavily-guarded hideout will cost a lot of clan lives (especially since Don Pietro seems to be putting more thought into replacing the leather sofa in his study over strategy). The gang manage to wipe out all of Conte's men but he gets away and flees to Spain, and Ciro loses not only Attilio in the bloody ambush but also the friendship of the older man's widow and children while Don Pietro offer to bonus checks to the dead clan members' widows and girlfriends and wreaths for the funerals seems callous in response. When the police intercept a heroin shipment from Honduras, exposing the smuggling route pointing in the clan's direction, Don Pietro suspects a rat within the clan.

We quickly learn that disgruntled Ciro made the anonymous but detailed police tip-off, and he is prepared to give the police more until Don Pietro recruits him to train his spoiled son Gennaro to succeed him (which proves to be a challenge when Gennaro disrespects the heir of another Camorra family and Don Pietro orders the other man's death rather than submit his son to the embarrassment of a public apology). Ciro realizes that he can use Gennaro to advance himself in the clan after Don Pietro is arrested, but the long supportive Imma has plans of her own to take control with her son as figurehead. With Don Pietro's jail time protracted by a repeatedly delayed hearing and a warden who quashes his avenues of special treatment, the clan's outside interests suffer without his authority. Ciro pushes Gennaro to take control but Imma wants to make sure that the clan believes Gennaro is carrying out his father's wishes. When Don Pietro is transferred to maximum security solitary confinement after a call in which he orders a hit is intercepted, Imma sees the opportunity to wrest control by sending Gennaro to Honduras to secure a new agreement with their suppliers and sending Ciro to Spain to make peace with Conte (both ostensibly orders from Don Pietro), expecting Gennaro to be delayed and Ciro not to return at all. Ciro manages to talk himself out of being killed by Conte (as well as settling a dispute with Conte's Russian partners) and returns to Naples to find himself marginalized by Imma's new plans for the clan. When Gennaro returns, having undergone a hellish captivity in Honduras where he learned far more effectively how to kill than under Ciro's tutelage, he has transformed into a full blown power-mad psychopath who violently wrests control of the clan and creates a divide between his young upstarts and the older members of the clan who have no confidence in him, with Ciro caught in the middle and determined to play them and Conte all against each other in an effort to rise to the top. Other featured characters include family accountant Musi (Antonio Zavatteri, THE GOODBYE KISS) whose life tragically spirals when he must get back Stevasano assets he has invested in his own future, lesbian Marta (Susy Benedetto) who appeals to Imma when a loan shark causes the suicide of her father and continues to badger her and her mother, young cellmate Pasqualino (David Sontag) who Don Pietro befriends behind bars, and sixteen-year-old mechanic Daniele (Vincenzo Sacchettino) - kid brother of Conte's driver Massimo (Domenico Balsamo) - who Ciro inveigles into a plot that sets off a new war between Conte and Gennaro (and whose survival could unravel all of Ciro's plans).

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 6 May 2014 - 10 June 2014 (Italian TV)

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DVD Review: Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 9:45:58 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.46 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
� Disc One:
� - Episodes 1 (16:9; 54:16), 2 (16:9; 57:10), and 3 (16:9; 47:50)

� Disc Two:
� - Episodes 4 (16:9; 44:20), 5 (16:9; 48:34), and 6 (16:9; 55:44)

� Disc Three:
� - Episodes 7 (16:9; 43:26), 8 (16:9; 47:30), and 9 (16:9; 47:14)

� Disc Four:
� - Episodes 10 (16:9; 43:14), 11 (16:9; 49:38), and 12 (16:9; 47:02)
� - Behind the Scenes (16:9; 24:01)

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 60

 

 

 

Comments

Arrow Films divides the first season's twelve episodes over four dual-layer DVDs in anamorphic, matted 1.85:1 widescreen encodes that look as good as it can in standard definition given the dark neon-lit night and harshly-contrasted day scenes. Although the series was released with a 5.1 mix (as heard on the Italian DVD and 1080i Blu-ray), Arrow provides a 2.0 stereo track (Studio Canal's French Blu-ray and DVD also have 2.0 stereo only). The optional English subtitles are free of errors. The sole extra is a behind the scenes featurette.

Season 1 is also available on 1080i Blu-ray as well as Season 1 & 2 Blu-ray and DVD boxed sets from Arrow Films. Stateside viewers who are not region free can see the series via streaming outlets this fall through Sundance.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

 

 



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