Suburra review – brash and brutal Italian crime thriller
Stefano Sollima’s brash and brutal movie is a melodrama of political corruption and gangster turf wars in Rome – set satirically at the fraught moment of spiritual crisis when Pope Benedict XVI decided to abdicate. It’s a film that could conceivably have worked as well, or better, as a boxset binge on TV – indeed, Sollima also directed the acclaimed mafia series Gomorrah – but lays down the law confidently enough on the big screen: there’s a supermarket shootout and a getaway scene (following a slaying in a spa) that are handled with terrific élan.
Pierfrancesco Pavino plays Filippo “Pippo” Malgradi, a crooked MP trying to get Rome’s Ostia waterfront turned into a Vegas-style gamblers’ playground: Pippo gets his gangster contacts to order a hit on a young hoodlum who had been trying to blackmail him over an underage prostitute who died in his hotel room. The resulting murder is a gruesome mess that involves a hatchet-faced mafioso called Samurai (Claudio Amendola) who is brokering the Southern clans’ money in the Vegas project, and whose own contacts go all the way up to the Vatican. This is straight-ahead mob action, a vision of crows pecking each other to death when they’re not feasting on the corpse of “Bunga Bunga” Italy. It’s carried off with a great deal of flair.