Directed by Stefano Sollima
A gangster known as "Samurai" wants to turn the waterfront of Rome into a new Las Vegas. All the local mob bosses have agreed to work for this common goal. But peace is not to last long.
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★★★★ review by Nicola Altieri on Letterboxd
È simbolico e necessario che l'unico Cinema italiano bello di oggi parli di quanto sia brutta l'Italia di oggi. Suburra parte dalla nostra inossidabile tradizione di cinema civile e vi innesta una cura estetizzante, lo esaspera in toni pop, chiaroscuri forti e zone d'ombra come focus estetico e narrativo, trasferendo sullo scenario cinematografico, con immutata forza ed il giusto equilibrio, quelle dinamiche della serialità televisiva su cui nuove eccellenti maestranze tecniche ed artistiche stanno costruendo una possibile e auspicabile nuova identità cinematografica italiana.
★★★½ review by Andrea Maderna on Letterboxd
Qui c'è qualcuno che tutte le sere va a dormire col Blu-ray di Heat sotto al cuscino. Poi magari non è Sollima e mi sembra che sia Sollima perché sono io, but still. Comunque, certo, il centro commerciale, per quanto bello, non vale Figueroa, manca un po' di forza emotiva nei personaggi e magari se si levavano un po' di musica a mille, qualche metaforone e un paio dei centododici confronti a due al bar andava meglio, ma insomma, oh, avercene, in Italia, film di genere del genere.
★★★★ review by Gramercy Riff on Letterboxd
Organized crime lead by a man known as Samurai, the Vatican Bank involved in some shady business, a politician with influence, high class and underaged prostitutes in their birthday suits, an overly ambitious foot soldier, a local gangster who goes by the name of Number 8, his junkie sweetheart, a gypsy patriarch with a short fuse, a pit bull with no fuse and an unfortunate weasel caught in the middle. All connected through a project that should turn Ostia, an area in Rome, into the new Las Vegas. And everybody wants a slice of that fat pie. A tale of corruption, crime and violence, presented in a slightly slow paced neo noir that excels when it comes to cinematography and atmosphere. Reminded me of Refn's Drive at times, which is always a good sign. M83's score works like a charm here. Suburra makes Soldado, Stefano Sollima's next film and the sequel to Sicario, something to really look forward to.
★★★★ review by Steve G on Letterboxd
Stefano Sollima's name has been thrust into the spotlight over the last few months after it was announced that he would be helming the unlikely sequel to Sicario.
I say unlikely because it's not the kind of film that is normally granted a sequel, and that was a development I certainly wasn't expecting. As much as I was initially delighted by the news, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who also immediately put the brakes on getting too excited when it was announced that Denis Villeneuve wouldn't be directing Soldado because he's busy making some science fiction film or something.
Immediate concerns about it being a quick cash-in come to mind, but as much as the original was a financial success, it wasn't a box office buster by any means. And the return of Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro reinvigorated my interest in the project. The only concern I had thereafter was about the chosen director, mainly because I hadn't seen any of his work to date.
Anyone with similar concerns who are in desperate need of having them allaying would be well advised to watch Suburra then. I'm not saying one very good crime drama necessarily means he will nail Soldado, but I'm considerably more confident that it will turn out to be very good indeed after watching this. Perhaps the main reason why that is is because this isn't usually the type of crime film I go for all that much, yet it still won me over convincingly anyway.
I like crime films to be quite self-contained. I don't usually like sprawling plots in this genre so much because I get frustrated, more often than not, that the film isn't spending as much time on the plot points I think are most interesting and important. Suburra really is quite sprawling in terms of the amount of people involved and the separate comparatively small incidents and situations that all come together to form a compelling whole.
The difference here is that they are all linked to a centre either directly or indirectly. There are no hanging parts here that serve no central purpose. Everyone here has a part to play to a lesser or greater extent, and Sollima does not rush things at all. He starts things at a very slow pace (save for possibly the most savage looking hit-and-run in cinema history), puts all the characters in their place, and then slowly but surely slots them all together towards the film's climax.
While an argument could be made that the last act of Suburra gives way to all too much in the way of unexpected murders, the unpredictability of the latter stages was still fascinating to watch. Throughout, the various factions in this film are portrayed as seeing themselves as bigger than they actually are when, in actual fact, they are very small fry and not nearly as professional or untouchable as they would like to think they are.
Even the one man in this film who appears to be untouchable because of who he represents ("The Families") is ultimately put away by a rogue element from one of the factions he fails to deal with completely. As small as all these groups may be, there are so many of them all competing for their own slice of the pie that even the Mafia's finest can't keep a full track of them all, leading to chaos.
It's probably meant as a metaphor for Italy's rocky political foundation but if it's not then it doesn't need to be anyway as that's explored directly in this film anyway. It's slow paced aside from a superb shopping mall shootout and reluctant to break into anything resembling a sprint, but Suburra is a lot more than a calling card ahead of a more high profile endeavour. And it hardly harms a film in my eyes when it's soundtracked by M83.
★★★½ review by Filipe Furtado on Letterboxd
The opening deliberate echo The Great Beauty, but the vision of Rome as a near mythical fallen place proposed by Suburra is much more down to earth and vital. A rain-soaked purgatory of moral compromise and corruption. Gangsterism as consolidated business is an idea Italian cinema has milked before, but the vision of entrapment proposed here stings. This is heavy on macho grandstanding and power play and low on actual action. Stefano Sollima isn’t his dad, but the film remains very engrossing even when spread too thin. There’s plenty of meaty acting that helps fill in the screen as well, particular by Pierfrancesco Favino and Greta Scarano.
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