A former crime boss, known as 'Samurai', is instructed by corrupt Mafia families to use his influence and connections to help turn the derelict waterfront of Rome into a new Las Vegas. His resultant actions spark a collision course of epic proportions as a seven day countdown to the fall of Rome begins. As the road to the looming 'apocalypse' approaches, secrets begin to quickly unravel, as powerful gangsters, immoral politicians, and even the Pope, become caught in the crossfire. As Rome crumbles, all those involved must choose to sink or swim, by betraying those closest to them.
Disturbingly Good - Uncompromising, and violent action: slick, well acted and technically excellent
- Suburra review by Greg&Dine
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Suburra follows the machinations of a number of members of high-level heavyweight crime gangs in Rome, as they vie for power. They also competer for a 'piece of the action' in a proposed water-front development organised by the mafia through their 'fixer' - the enigmatic and powerful 'Samurai'. He sets about eliminating all obstacles to the plan using either 'silver or lead' (to use a term used in the series Narcos).
Relatively innocent characters get thrown into the maelstrom of events and gang rivalries spill into bloody street conflicts. Sub-plots feature revenge as the primary motivation, with greed, sex and occasionally loyalty thrown in for good measure. It's a sinful concoction!
The action is very violent, the locations and shooting are slick, the hedonism extreme and the incidents graphic. It's not a film for the easily shocked. Like Trainspotting in the 90s the film has a modern 'cool' feel about it, with an occasionally loud electronic sound-track echoing the clubland lifestyle of its underworld denizens. There are moments that capture both the beauty of Rome as well as plenty of its seedier side.
The film captures the rivalries between different gangster groups and politicians, and their approach to business - the old school mafioso - Samurai - equally adept at negotiation as well as strong-arm tactics - an iron fist in a velvet glove, the newer generation of hedonistic 'hipster' thugs and the so-called 'gypsies', who play by their own rules.
The plot, pace, filming and characterisations are superb - excellent technical quality and acting - as you expect from the best Italian cinema: few do style and attention to detail as well as the Italians. It makes a nice change to see a European crime film of this quality - easily up there and surpassing the best that Hollywood has to offer.
It also asks questions of its audience about character, and what one would do when faced with tough moral choices. I'm glad I was watching an entertainment, rather than being involved in the ruthless yet engrossing world depicted.