Piranhas review – Neapolitan gangster-kids drama lacks bite

This boisterous adaptation of Roberto ‘Gomorrah’ Saviano’s novel about young mobsters is watchable but too smooth

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
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