If there’s one thing to be said for Suburra, it’s that it’s not afraid to be ambitious. Spanning the course of seven tumultuous days, the film tells of a Mafia-style organised crime group and their plans to establish the next Las Vegas in the waterfront district of Rome, amidst a climate of political upheaval. With multiple interlinking plots and an expansive cast that all ultimately draw together in a compelling fashion, one can’t fail to miss the Godfather-esque aspirations of this film. The convolutions of plot, though confusing on paper, are all deftly realised by actors who are clearly well versed in their chosen field. It’s surprisingly poignant and emotive throughout, if a little fatalistic, and there can be no doubt that Suburra is highly effective in creating an atmosphere of drama and intrigue.
This production is very competent from a technical perspective, too. Much of the plot unfolds at night, and in the rain, with scenes in the street masterfully lit in warm yellows and cool blues as the emotional narrative requires. The soundtrack is delivered at the hands of electronica group M83 – probably the only thing this film has in common with 2013’s Tom Cruise vehicle Oblivion. It’s a score that never fails to deliver passion, a sense of grandeur in some of the most heartbreaking moments of the story. Yes, it’s manipulative, and it can get repetitive towards the end, but there’s no denying the visceral appeal of these particular tracks at those particular moments.
That said, though Suburra may have dreams of being the next Godfather, it is not. This movie mostly suffers under the weight of its own scale and reach. As it continues on, several characters are left by the wayside, never to appear again, and those who do survive to the later acts are not likeable, or even particularly relatable, enough for the audience to stay invested. It doesn’t help that this film is over two hours long, when it’s clear that a lot of flab could be cut at various points. There’s definitely a more refined, more humble version to be cut, but as it stands, Suburra is a vast, sprawling and ambitious neo-noir thriller that Rome herself would be proud of.
Suburra is released in selected cinemas on 24th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for Suburra here: