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Suburra, and Gomorrah: 2 Italian Films Turned TV Series

Mister Pink

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Mister Pink


From books to films to tv series. I want to share two excellent, critically acclaimed, Italian, crime TV series both based on films of the same respective names and both based on true events and both based on books. 


Suburra (TV series, 2017)


Out of the two shows, I think this is the best but similar in many ways. This show is quite unique. It features a man representing the Mafia, the wife of the mayor that sits on the Vatican commision, and two crime families (one gypsy family and the other a legacy family in Rome). They all are looking for a piece of land that's up for sale and the sale needs to be complete by the time the mayor's term is up. We see an idealist politician senator and his amazing character transformation over to the dark side. We see politics, double-crosses, power-plays and power-moves all with great action, and great dialogue. When I saw the trailer, I thought looked OK but it only took a few minutes in to the first episode and I was hooked. It's very bingeworthy. I really recommend giving this a change. Watch just one episode and I think you might find it hard to stop watching! Currently on RT it's got a 100% rating (critics) and 93% (audience)


"First, a warning, as the first episode requires time to digest what’s going on with all the various shady characters. Three young men destined to be united by one nefarious purpose start off apart: Aureliano Adami (Alessandro Borghi) is a peroxide blond thug whose sister is the brains of the operation; privileged Gabriele “Lele” Marchilli (Eduardo Valdarnini) is the son of a cop, but he provides drugs and other illicit offerings to partiers; and Alberto “Spadino” Anacleti (Giacomo Ferrara) is the son of a gangster family referred to as “gypsies.”

While these upstarts attempt to get their pieces of the perfidious pie, they have to contend with far more experienced and possibly more ruthless elders that include an ambitious woman with ties to the Vatican, a cardinal who participated in the aforementioned orgy, and a humble politician who finds that taking the high road isn’t the quickest way to get elected. But it’s the bespectacled man bafflingly referred to as Samurai (Francesco Acquaroli) who is the most intimidating yet nearly silent presence. Much like Slugworth in “Willy Wonka,” Samurai lurks behind pillars or near children, ready to offer a dead-eyed stare or tempting" - indiewire


It's easy to follow, but it moves quickly enough. But sometimes it's good to have some knowledge going in. It's on Netflix UK and for the love of god, put on English subtitles, and listen to their Italian. Really, it adds realism and you might even learn something! 😛




Suburra (2015, the film)




I haven't seen the film yet, only the TV series but currently, it has on RT: 91% critics rating and 80% audience rating. 


Gomorrah (2014, TV Show)


The TV show is much more "accessible" to a wider audience than the film. There's a bit more action, violence and has more a faster pace. Again, it focusses on real events featuring the Camorra (Italian Mafia). The Camorra has a different structure to the Italian-American mafia. The Italo-American Mafia is like a pyramid and the Camorra have more of a horizontal structure. It just means there are so many Camorra clans that they end up warring with each other all the time. To put this in context, "currently it is estimated there are about 111 Camorra clans and over 6,700 members in Naples and the immediate surroundings." That's bloody crazy! The population of Naples is less than a million. Imagine 6,700 of the population is in the Mafia or associated with one of 111 clans. I have only seen season 1 (created an old topic about it) and thought it was phenomenal. It's very binge-worthy. If you like crime shows like The Sopranos, The Wire etc or crime films like Goodfellas, it's definitely worth a watch. Heck, if you are GTA fan, I would make sure to watch it. 





Gomorrah (2008, the movie)


Based on the book of the same name. The author, Roberto Saviano, has to live under police protection ever since the book was published. The film a more gritty, realistic depiction of the Mafia in Napoli (Naples) in Italy. This film isn't as easy to watch as a Hollywood mafia film. It's unglamorous, more ruthless portrayal of mafia life and how it affects people there. It's one of those films that's rated much higher by critics than by the audience: 92% Critics and 70% Audience rating on RT. Those percentages are both obviously favorable but from that, you might see it as something not so aimed at a casual film watcher. 




Overall, if you like crime films or games like GTA these are great to get in to. I think Suburra probably is slightly better and has more budget it's slightly more clever in it's storytelling but Gomorrah is still hard-hitting. Because when you see some events in the show, you can google the real thing and see it in the news. Gomorrah shows that dank, gritty side of the mafia and it's nice to see it in rough parts of Italy. 


If any of you watched The Sopranos, you can almost look at Gomorrah as a look into Furio Giunta's world without the romanticization that Tony and Carmella imagine of the motherland. 


Edited by Mister Pink
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Mr. Scratch

Literally saw Suburra the movie a couple of days ago, it's definitely earned those scores and reviews. Great take on Mafia stories, no wonder Stefano Sollima was chosen to direct Sicario 2.


I'd also recommend Trust, there is a very well developed story about the  expansion of the 'Ndragheta in Calabria back in the 70's in there. And Luca Marinelli from Gomorrah is in it as a super off the rails Mafioso.

Edited by Mr. Scratch
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Mister Pink

Oh yes! Someone told me about that, that he directed Sicario 2 (going to see it on Saturday). Can't wait to see Suburra now. 


'Ndragheta are the most fascinating mafia in my opinion. It's estimated the business volume of them was around 44 billion euro back in 2007. I will definitely check out Trust. Thanks!

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Mr. Scratch

The 'Ndragheta is pretty f*cking scary if you think about it, the amount of influence they have over the world is ridiculous. Cosa Nostra, Camorra and pretty much any drug cartel look like rank amateurs in comparison.

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