If you want to watch a gritty, violent mafia gang-mob series, by all means, go ahead and watch the Italian production Gomorrah. It makes the mafia of New York, The Sopranos, look like kindergartners.
What makes it so compelling to watch?
The characters of Pietro Savastano and his son, Gennaro, and their nemesis, Ciro, are all equally evil. There are no good guys in the series, no one that one particularly tries to root for, there is no redeemer who is going to save anyone from the damning consequences of their actions. It allows the viewer to peer into the abyss of a hell from which there is no escape.
This is especially true in the first season. There are glimmers here and there that Ciro wants to change things, to stop the incessant killing of adversaries. He attempts to form an alliance between his adversaries, but true loyalty depends on the strength of the leader of the pack. It’s a dog-eats-dog world, and all of them are hungry enough to destroy even close allies and friends.
Ciro, the right-hand man of old man Savastano, grooms the son, “Genny”, giving the hapless, too-soft, overweight young man breaks to protect him from the disparagement of his father who can see too clearly that his son is not quite cut from the same cloth as he is.
Gennaro undergoes a massive change in character and appearance after his mother sends him to Honduras; he becomes a ruthless, cold killer who shows no mercy to anyone who crosses him. He has finally become the man his father wants, but he lacks experience in leadership and draws close to him the seamy underbelly of Naples’ slum world. These young men are as faithful to him as they can be, but allegiances are made to be broken. There are no guarantees that they will remain loyal. They are dangerous, cruel and violent.
A word of warning: this series does not conform to cherished American values in television: good vs evil is but a shade of perpetual grey, there is no such thing as political correctness and the violence is graphic and ugly.
An interesting side note is that the filming occurred in the slums called the Sails of Scampia, now doomed apparently for demolition. This massive estate houses a teeming number of impoverished people whose only hope of economic survival is crime.
The series is based on a novel by Roberto Saviano, which became a movie a few years ago.
So, to answer the question: Why do we continue to watch this series?
In our heart of hearts, we hope that there will be a moment when some inner decency causes a character to change; a belief in happy endings, a disbelief that things cannot continue the way they are. But, life is not a fairy tale, is it?
Read more here:
There is a place, way yonder
Where devils and demons meet
It’s white and filled with gold but
Oil runs the river deep,
Swaying to the rhythm
of mendacious Manticorean needs
The diamonds shine and sparkle
From the depths of flagrant greed but
The man who dwells in higher places
Has a chimera that he feeds
It will strike and bite and mumble
when the midnight hour tweets
His apocalyptic horsemen ride
with lies and travesty
and the unholy force of empty
wrapped in the poseur’s penny creeds
You wanted this? Empty promises from
a naked emperor
and his sycophantic trumpeting heirs?
My people, oh my people
How humanity now weeps.
“The Martikhora (Manticore) is an animal found in this country [India]. It has a face like a man’s, a skin red as cinnabar, and is as large as a lion. It has three rows of teeth, ears and light-blue eyes like those of a man; its tail is like that of a land scorpion, containing a sting more than a cubit long at the end. It has other stings on each side of its tail and one on the top of its head, like the scorpion, with which it inflicts a wound that is always fatal. If it is attacked from a distance, it sets up its tail in front and discharges its stings as if from a bow; if attacked from behind, it straightens it out and launches its stings in a direct line to the distance of a hundred feet. The wound inflicted is fatal to all animals except the elephant. The stings are about a foot long and about as thick as a small rush. The Martikhora [the Persian word for man-eater] is called in Greek Anthropophagos (Man-Eater), because, although it preys upon other animals, it kills and devours a greater number of human beings. It fights with both its claws and stings, which, according to Ktesias (Ctesias), grow again after they have been discharged. There is a great number of these animals in India, which are hunted and killed with spears or arrows by natives mounted on elephants.”
I find it very strange that in a country of such affluence, freedom of speech, religion and the sense that anything is pretty much permissible, that the use of recreational drugs as well as the number of “accidental” overdoses should be so alarmingly high.
I apologize for sounding moralistic and it is not my place to judge whatever people do in their spare time. However, if the purpose of taking drugs is to escape reality, then please, how bad is your life? If you were born and raised here in the land of milk and honey, what is it you want to escape from? Boredom?
Look at the tragic pictures of people starving in parts of Africa, the bombed-out homes of the Syrians, and others who suffer real deprivation. Take a moment to think about their lives. They don’t have the luxury of escaping their reality. Life is a constant struggle and there is no certainty that tomorrow will bring better times.
The spiritual bankruptcy that exists in this country – and the prevalence of drug addiction especially in the Bible Belt – is testimony to the fact that Christianity is clearly not the answer. People still look to be rescued from something, someone – instead of taking responsibility for the their choices.
It makes me angry. Very angry. But it is because the sadness of the situation just fills me with a powerless grief. and I don’t do well with expressing emotions. Three friends of mine have lost either a child or a sibling and it hurts me to the core of my being to see them dealing with such grievous, heartbreaking loss.
Addiction is a disease you don’t even know you have until you have it.
Grow a backbone, deal with stuff. Stop feeling so sorry for yourselves. You have opportunities beyond imagining, and it is up to you to make a great life for yourself. Don’t even take that first hit. You just don’t know how it will affect you, your life and your family, and all the people who love you.
“Neil speaks the truth, but it should still be preached that “It’s not the drug the makes the addict, but the need to escape that does.” Addiction is not the result of drug use. Addiction is a societal disease and one of the mind, its far more sinister and complex than a chemical could ever be. The drug is a vehicle for the crippled, making one feel like they can run when they can barely crawl.” – Steven Webb, comment on YouTube.
It is so easy to get lost in Facebook and other social media; one click, and another and oh, look! A recipe, a kitten, a goat doing yoga, a unicorn…and before you know it, forty minutes of your time have disappeared into the illusion that you are actually busy, that you are making the world a better, funnier place because you have added a laughing emoji to a comment, or made someone happy because you clicked “like” on their post.
I cannot be that nice person all the time. I am wasting my creativity on someone else’s inspired memes instead of creating my own. I HAVE BECOME A USER instead of a creator in the last few weeks.
Notice how many times “I” appeared in the above paragraph.
Yes, it is all about me. All ME.
I have to get back to writing instead of trying to keep other people happy; people who do not value the time and effort I take into keeping the world going round. But it is hard to keep focused when there are so many distractions, too many demanding my energies and their constant need for validation.
I feel empty, drained of the spark that used to fuel my imagination. I feel as if I have become rooted in the 3D illusion, and my escape to other realms has been curtailed by the infantile vampiric monster of need. I am just not good with having people in my home for more than three days – except my children.
Guest, please don’t clean my house, invade my kitchen, talk about Jesus, put things away, rearrange my dining table, pray in restaurants, shovel food into your mouth like a demented puppy deprived of the teat, dish up seconds before the last person has helped himself. And above all, don’t talk and comment and explain a movie while I am watching Netflix. My life is wonderful, untidy, messy, filled with dogs, birds, books, art and stuff. And silence. There is order in the disorder of my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
PS: The only reason I wrote this rant is because I know it will disappear into the ethernet, the never-never space of useless ideas and soulless dissatisfaction.
I just read this blog and I am laughing!!! All better now.