From the Godfather to Scarface to the Sopranos, organized crime is painted as a glamorous thing. Crime gets the protagonists wealth, pretty girls, drugs and power. While they usually live with the fact that they could be killed at anytime, it never seems to be as much as a threat to them as it is to their underlings. However you never see these protagonists doing anything more than sling a few drugs or run a strip club. How does everyone in their crime syndicate get wealthy if there is no depiction of the other menial and illegal activities you know they have their hands in? Gomorrah explains how and why most Napoleons get wrapped up in a gang and it is not as glamorous as most films make it out to be.
There is no single figure that you follow through the course of the film. This is mainly because so many of the people who get a starting point in the film also get a finishing point very quickly. Two punks who steal from the local representative of the crime syndicate, get their due. A young boy finds out that he has to kill his best friend’s mother. A tailor for a fake haute couture factory moonlights at another factory and becomes implicated in a car accident. A representative of an illegal trash company screws various people out of the money owed to them for dumping poison in on their land. All of these people are stuck in a world where the only way to survive is to be a part of the crime world. There is no beauty to their jobs. Nobody is getting rich or rolling around in drugs. Everyone is just barely surviving and knows that at any moment they could be the ones staring down the barrel of a gun.
I’m sure that you are aware that this film is based on real events. The Camorra are one of the biggest crime syndicates in the world. They control everything in Naples both illegal and legal. The Camorra have taken root here because of the lack of wealth in this area of Italy. They sweep in and take advantage of poor people by giving them a little bit of money. Five hundred euros is a lot to someone who makes that in a year but is nothing for someone who makes five million euros a year. These people become the foot soldiers, the grunt men of a highly organized network. At one point in the film, a group of truckers refuse to get on their dump trucks and dump the waste they have on the back of their trucks. The business man recruits young kids to do the jobs of older men by promising them money. These kids are so young they have to climb on the rims of the tires in order to get into the cab. Although it is not discussed, you know that this business man will be paying these young kids far less than he would the older men. This kind of thing seems to be the norm for this business man and for the rest of the syndicate. No matter what happens there will always be this kind of criminal activity. Just because you stamp out one mob boss, doesn’t mean there won’t be another one take its place.