Thursday, September 14, 2023

Suburra – Unearthed Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 2015
Director: Stefano Sollima
Writers: Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Carlo Bonini
Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Elio Germano, Claudio Amendola, Alessandro Borghi, Greta Scarano, Giulia Gorietti, Antonello Fassari, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Alessandro Bernardini, Michele Bevilacqua, Adamo Dionisi

Release Date: September 26th, 2023
Approximate Running Time: 134 Minutes 56 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Italian, LPCM Stereo Italian
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95

"In 2011, Ostia is the subject of a giant real estate project intended to make the harbor of Ancient Rome the Las Vegas of today. But the place soon becomes a battlefield where criminals and politicians either join forces cynically or fight each other ruthlessly. The infernal showdown will last seven days, claiming many lives." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Suburra comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 43.6 GB

Feature: 26.2 GB

Though no information is provided about the source used for this transfer, the result is a transfer that looks excellent. Flesh tones and colors look correct; image clarity, black levels, and compression are solid.

Audio: 5/5 (DTS-HD 5.1 Italian, LPCM Stereo Italian)

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Italian and a LPCM stereo mix in Italian. You can’t go wrong with either of these audio tracks. They both sound clear, balanced, and robust when they should. Range-wise, both tracks do a great job taking advantage of the sound spectrum. Included are removable English subtitles.


Extras for this release include production stills gallery with music from Suburra playing in the background, a theatrical teaser (1 minute 12 seconds, Dolby Digital 5.1), a theatrical trailer (1 minute 26 seconds, Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian with removable English subtitles), a documentary titled The Making of Suburra (127 minutes 34 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), and a slipcase (limited to the first pressing).


Directed by Stefano Sollima, a second-generation filmmaker whose father was Sergio Sollima, whose notable films are a trio of westerns, The Big Gundown, Face to Face, and Run, Man, Run, and a pair of Poliziotteschi, Violent City, and Revolver.

The narrative revolves around corrupt politicians and underworld criminals who are working together to turn an area of real estate in Rome into Las Vegas.

After peaking in the late 1970s, Italian genre cinema went through a few lean decades, with most of the films that came out of Italy during this time leaning more towards the arthouse. That said, in more recent times, there appears to be a resurgence in genre cinema in Italy. This brings us to a film like Suburra, which is a bridge between Italian genre cinema of the past and modern Italian cinema.

Content-wise, Suburra is a film that is in the same mold that Italian crime films from the past were cut from. And though Suburra is an updated version of the Italian crime film, it is easy to see how Poliziotteschi from the 1970s influenced Suburra.

At over two hours and just under 135 minutes in length, Suburra is a film that introduces a lot of characters who play key roles in the story at hand, and there are several subplots that all intersect with the main plot. And by the time the moment of truth arrives, the bodies have piled up, and a few characters come out on the other side unscathed.

If there is one criticism that I have about Suburra, it is the lack of time devoted to character backstory. Fortunately, this is not a deal-breaker since Suburra has a solid cast that is all great in their respective roles. The most memorable performance was by Adamo Dionisi in the role of Manfredi Anacleti, a sadistic crime boss whose temper dictates his actions.

From a production standpoint, Suburra is a film that does a great job exploiting its resources. Notably, its neo-noir visuals suit the story at hand perfectly. Also, most of the characters that populate them are unlikable, and their actions are often ugly, often leading to violence. Needless to say, no one in Suburra can be trusted, as most characters are driven by self-interest. Ultimately, though style often overshadows substance in Suburra, the result is a very good crime film that is a must-see if you're a fan of Italian crime films.

Suburra gets an excellent release from Unearthed Films that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a lengthy 'making of' documentary, highly recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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