Suburra is lethal cinema. Directed with vice-grip intensity by Stefano Sollima, this sprawling and propulsive crime film centers on modern organized crime in Italy and how it intersects with politics and the Vatican in present day Rome. Feeling like an unofficial sequel to Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah, Suburra presents the audience with a slew of characters, almost all of whom are morally questionable and operating outside the lines of accepted society. The violence and sex are graphic and in your face, the cynical narrative is dense yet coherent, leaving no stone unturned or any of the various plot lines dangling, and the vivid and incredibly atmospheric cinematography by Paolo Carnera is frequently eye-scorching, with an extra-smart use of neon and nocturnal rain resulting in some elegant widescreen visuals.
The tough as nails screenplay was adapted by Stefano Rulli, Sandro Petraglia, Carlo Bonini, and Giancarlo De Cataldo from the novel by Bonini and De Cataldo. There are unexpected twists and turns that this film takes, and all of it has an unpredictable charge that leaves you pumped for the next scene. Sollima has been hired to direct the sequel to Sicario; I never felt one was needed but now I’m very excited to see it.
Review by Nick Clement