Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
A rush of fresh blood to a fine Italian tradition, it doesn’t take long for Stefano Sollima’s enthralling new crime saga Suburra to transcend its familiar parts. As we begin, a crime lord (known only as ‘Samurai’) has started actioning plans to amass beachfront property for an Atlantic City-style gambling paradise. But as Sollima’s web of desperate players quickly spreads, it seems nobody is above getting their hands dirty for a piece of the action. Implicating a cast of politicians, prostitutes, crooks and clergymen (to name a few), Suburra relishes in playing its multiple threads against each other in brutal, unpredictable ways. Bribery, blackmail, kidnapping and murder are just a handful of plot turns to look forward to.
But as the bullets fly, Sollima is stringing up a damning portrait of Rome’s upper echelon, in which corruption rains relentlessly and it’s the everymen struggling beneath that get drenched. It seems the real-life resonances were felt too; Suburra proved such a sensation with audiences in its home country that Netflix immediately commissioned a follow-up television series for 2017. — JF
“Suburra is an atmospheric, fast-paced thriller, which draws on an earlier Italian genre tradition that went missing in action somewhere in the mid 70s, one that managed to be stylish and a little vulgar at the same time. It also taps into another even older tradition, a vision of Rome, the Eternal City, as a decadent succubus, a sink of corruption where everything – sex, votes, even the priesthood – can be bought for a price.” — Lee Marshall, Screendaily