Roberto Saviano is the author and journalist forced into hiding after publishing his 2006 exposé Gomorrah about the Neapolitan mafia – which became the basis for the very successful movie directed by Matteo Garrone – and he still requires police protection. Now Saviano has adapted his 2010 novel La Paranza dei Bambini, or The Children’s Gang, for the screen; the director and co-writer is Claudio Giovannesi, whose credits include episodes of the TV version of Gomorrah.
It is a fiction, based on real experiences, of teenage gangsters with grownup violence, grownup paranoia and grownup guns: which is to say, the infantile mannerisms of the grownup professional criminals. Giovannesi’s movie is watchable enough, but often looks like a smoothed-out, planed-down version of Garrone’s Gomorrah: Gomorrah without the rough edges, like a classy television version. This