In ancient Rome Suburra was a crowded lower-class area and a notorious red-light district near the Esquiline Hills but for the purposes of this film, it’s a symbol of purported crime, dirty politics, a not-so-holy Vatican in modern Rome. This one’s surely going to put those who are tired of films focusing on organized crime and Italy’s seedier side over the edge, but for those of us who love a thrilling, grisly crime story, we’re in luck.
Politicians making deals and pushing through laws that line their pockets, organized crime, drugs, and church officials who are in it for themselves and not for God; these things are hardly markets cornered by Italians. So for those who complain about this kind of story tarnishing Italy’s reputation: Calm down! Some of us just want to enjoy a drama in that guilty pleasure kind of way.
Suburra isn’t a documentary and it isn’t meant to be educational or provide a factual account of news stories of contemporary Rome, but it does feel a little too authentic for comfort. Sollima took the “Mafia Capitale, a real-life scandal involving the Roman government and made it into a seriously cool movie with dark, violent and fascinating characters.
They live by the sword and they die by the sword: There’s Manfredi (Adamo Dionisi), the head of the gypsy loansharks, Number 8 (Alessandro Borghi), the “prince” of the Ostian underworld and Viola (Greta Scarano), his drug-addict girlfriend, Malgradi (Pierfrancesco Favino), the dirty politician, Sebastiano (Elio Germano), the nightclub owner,and the ‘Samurai’ (Claudio Amendola) the powerful boss that pulls all of their strings. Everybody wants power and money. Everybody’s vulnerable and nobody is safe.
The acting is top-rate, the pace is exciting, and though there’s a lot going on it’s all connected before you get a chance to get lost or confused, and it leaves a lot of room for the TV series based on the movie that is in the works. Ten episodes are to be produced by Netflix and will also be available in the US but are not due out until 2017. For now, Netflix has the movie, and it’s highly recommended.