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cinemadaily | Criterion Brings Oscar-Snubbed “Gomorrah” Home…to the Family

cinemadaily | Criterion Brings Oscar-Snubbed "Gomorrah" Home...to the Family

Last year, when the Oscar shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film was released, Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah,” a critical favorite, was snubbed. Today, it gets its comeuppance with a release through the Criterion Collection. “In the first wave of their extended collaboration with IFC films, Criterion have released Gomorrah in a double-disc DVD that offers a highly pleasing presentation,” reports Thomas Spurlin of DVD Talk. He continues, “Taken from a digital intermediate and presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic image that both Matteo Garrone and cinematographer Marco Onorato have approved, Criterion’s transfer for Gomorrah preserves the grainy, gritty attitude that adorns the film’s tone throughout. Specific details, like wood grain and hay in backdrops and the grimy debris dropped on flooring, exhibit well-pitched detail through a precise, appropriate level of grain…An Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 track has been made available with the visual treatment that’s been mastered at 24-bit from the digital source, and it’s a subtly striking presentation.”

In the Village Voice, J. Hoberman describes it, “Martin Scorsese may be presenting Matteo Garrone’s ‘Gomorrah,’ but this corrosive, slapdash, grimly exciting exposé of organized crime in and around Naples comes on like Mean Streets cubed. Detailing daily life inside a criminal state, it’s a new sort of gangster film for America to ponder.”

Also writing at the time of the film’s theatrical run, Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum says in a glowing review, “Don’t look for resolution, romanticism, or comic relief in this underworld tour, shot 
 with a fast, you-are-there look and no pity; you won’t find picaresque goodfellas or Sopranos-style ziti eaters here. Instead, there’s the power of damning truth. No wonder the movie has won awards right and left, including the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.”

On the DVD release, Brad Brevet at Ropes of Silicon says, “In my “B” review of Gomorrah last December I opened saying “its dedication to [Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction story] causes the film to lack focus as it spreads itself too thin by telling five separate stories.” After seeing it a second time I still stand by this statement, but not as adamantly as I did before. A repeat viewing benefits this film greatly and Criterion’s Blu-ray presentation is slick and engrossing, even if the supplemental material can go on a little too long.”

After expressing disappointment about the film’s behind the scenes featurette, DVD Town‘s Christopher Long says, “The most interesting feature on the disc is an interview with Roberto Saviano, author of the book on which the film is based. Saviano has been in protective custody because of threats from the Camorra, so it´s even more valuable to hear him speak at length about the crime organization.”

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