L'immortale (The Immortal) – Starring Marco D'Amore Gomorrah Reviewed on ZANI

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L’immortale (The Immortal) is a spin-off from Sky Atlantic’s Gomorrah, which is loosely based on Italian writer and Napolitano Roberto Saviano’s nonfiction book Gomorrah (March 2006), an investigative tome that under-covered in detail the workings of the criminal organisation, Camorra of Naples. The book led to a play then a film (both in 2008), then to a TV series (2014), co-created by Savino. The TV series bears no resemblance to the book, film, or the play.

Since October 2006 Roberto Saviano has been living under police protection, as Saviano has broken Camorra’s code of silence, the mafia’s cardinal sin, Omertà. This act of mafia treason features heavily as a plot and subplot in the fictional versions of Gomorrah, and for those that commit it usually end up ‘sleeping with the fishes’, as the saying goes.

Gomorrah the TV series is hugely successful and popular across the world, moreover, according to Serie A folklore, the players of Naples, which is the principal setting of Gomorrah, request that their fixtures don’t clash when the show is premiered as streaming, downloading or recording isn’t sufficient, they want to see the show in real-time. Whether that is true or not who knows? yet it is a nice anecdote.

gomorrah l immortale

So far to date there have been four seasons about the Savastano Camorra clan of Secondigliano, a suburb in north Naples. A show that is raw, brutal and entertaining, that displays all aspects of a criminal enterprise, from the profit to the double-dealings, with a host of interesting and unsavoury characters, that intrigue and entertain the viewers. Furthermore, it would be fair to say, the two principal characters are Gennaro "Genny" Savastano, played with wit and sincerity by Salvatore Esposito, (Fargo, L'Eroe) as the one-time overweight spoilt son of a mafia boss, and now a brutal mafia boss himself. Marco D'Amore (Un Posto Sicuro, Drive Me Home) as Ciro "L’immortale" Di Marzio, the suave and streetwise ambitious criminal with attitude, a cold heart, and a steely stare. There is an unholy alliance between Genny and Ciro, best of friends one day, and the next the worst of enemies. Yet the depth of their complex friendship is demonstrated when one dark night Ciro sacrifices his life by allowing Genny to shoot him on a boat in the bay of Naples, under the immense pressure of a rival and up and coming crime gang, at the end of season three. Ciro’s body is thrown into the water to ‘swim with the fishes’. As his body makes a loud splash Genny’s heart is broken, as he knows he has lost the only friend he has ever had. Yet Ciro doesn’t have the street name of L’immortale without a valid reason…...

L'immortale, directed by Marco D’Amore, starts at the close of season 3, with Ciro’s lifeless body being pulled out of the cold and dark water by some young Napolitano upstarts. Ciro is rushed to an unknown hospital, and as the surgeons try to resuscitate the mean and moody Ciro, the viewer is treated to a flashback where they see that, during an earthquake in Naples, Ciro the baby, is rescued by his mother, as the earth below them opens. His mother, unfortunately, perishes as wall and floor cave in, yet the screaming baby is found alive under the rubble, surviving a certain death experience, hence the street name L’immortale.

With facing death, and losing his mother at such an early age, can explain some of the reasons why Ciro is fearless and outwardly insensitive. Yet throughout Gomorrah, there is the seldom occasion where a vulnerable and even loving side to Ciro is shown. But Ciro wants to be the classic tough guy from the streets of Naples for it transpires from L'immortale, that during adolescence the young Ciro, played by Giuseppe Aiello in his acting debut who gives a strong and moving performance, lived on the streets as a thief, under the guidance of Bruno (Gianni Vastarella in his first main role) a character similar to Fagin in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, who teaches the local orphans to steal a car stereo or two. Furthermore, within this deviant and unsettling world Ciro sees a glimmer of hope, as Bruno has become like a father and Ciro starts to see Bruno’s girlfriend, a beautiful and up and coming singer, Stella, ( Martina Attanasio, another acting debut), as his big sister. Sadly, as the viewers of Gomorrah know, Ciro’s childhood dream of a new loving and adoptive family, never came true.

Fast forward to the present, Ciro, having risen from the dead again, is unable to stay in Naples, due to a price on his head and retreats to Latvia to oversee drug imports from Naples with the Italian residents that make fake designer gear in Latvia and who are now branching out into drugs. Upon arriving, Ciro is greeted by Bruno, (this time played by seasoned Italian actor, Salvatore D'Onofrio, Il Divo, Fort Apache Napoli) a man Ciro has not seen for many years. Bruno is over the moon to see Ciro again, yet for Ciro, it seems he has unfinished business, and Ciro always tries to settle his scores…...

 

L'Immortale is not only about the world of crime and the character of Ciro, for within the main plot and key character it is also a film about reminiscing, rebirth, and repenting. Ciro remembers his past with sadness, possibly regrets, being saved from the Bay of Naples, and wants to finally make amends, as he did in season three. However, Ciro has entered another circle of Hell, like Dante’s Inferno, where he is unable to find peace and salvation in a world of chaos and destruction.

This is Marco D'Amore’s first film directing debut, he has directed 2 episodes of Gomorrah, and D’Amore has approached this project with diligence. For the camera work not only captures the breath-taking countryside of Latvia with much beauty, but there is also an element of darkness in the shots, making sure we know this will not be a pleasant film, yet one worth watching.

All the cast members know their roles, which they play with utter confidence and strength. Moreover, for D’Amore to give three debut actors their first break shows D’Amore wants to develop the young Italian actors, and that he is driven by their creative input and not their status. As I believe, due to the worldwide success of Gomorrah, D’Amore wouldn’t have had any trouble bringing in big names for the filming of L’immortale. However, D’Amore kept to the original concept of Gomorrah, to cast unknowns as no one knew who Salvatore Esposito was in 2013 and now this young Napolitano is known across the world.

D’Amore’s road into acting was via the theatre, and throughout Gomorrah and L’immortale, as the character Ciro, with his trademark diamond stud earring, designer leather jacket and jeans, tee-shirt, trainers and shaven hair, can hold your attention, even scare you, with that sinister poker face. That is high-class acting, and no doubt learnt from his days when he trod the boards. So, fans of the anti-hero Ciro "L’immortale" Di Marzio, Gomorra, Italian cinema, and crime films, will enjoy this in-depth crime thriller.

L'immortale is a strong and outstanding stand-alone drama, for the reasons mentioned above. However, it is part of the Gomorrah universe, and both the film and the TV series complement each other, and for that I simply say…... Bravo !

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Read 465 times Last modified on Friday, 04 September 2020 16:06
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