Suburræterna Review: Directed by Ciro D’Emilio and Alessandro Tonda, the Italian action drama stars Giacomo Ferrara as Alberto Anacleti aka Spadino, Carlotta Antonelli as Angelica Sale, Federica Sabatini as Nadia Gravoni, Filippo Nigro as Amedeo Cinaglia, Paola Sotgiu as Adelaide Anacleti, Emmanuele Aita as Ferdinando Badali, Aliosha Massine as Ercole Bonatesta, Alberto Cracco as Fiorenzo Nascari, Morris Sarra as Cesare Luciani, Yamina Brirmi as Giulia Luciani, Giorgia Spinelli as Miriana Murtas, Marlon Joubert as Damiano Luciani, and others. The series consists of 8 episodes, each with a runtime of 45-50 minutes.
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–Suburræterna Netflix Review Contains No Spoilers–
Suburræterna continues the gripping narrative set in the world of the 2015 neo-noir film Suburra and picks up the threads left by the 2017 Netflix crime drama series Suburra: Blood on Rome. Building upon the intricate web of crime, power struggles, and moral ambiguity, this new series delves deeper into the complexities of its characters’ lives while navigating the shadowy underbelly of Rome.
The series revolves around a city in turmoil; the government teeters on the brink of collapse, the Vatican faces significant trouble, and the city’s squares are on fire. Amidst this chaos, Cinaglia and Badali continue to control the city’s crime scene, aided by Adelaide, Angelica, and Nadia, each overseeing different parts of the city.
However, discontent brews among those dissatisfied with the current order. Damiano Luciani and his family sow chaos that spreads throughout Rome, affecting landmarks from St. Peter’s to other crucial locations. This upheaval prompts Spadino’s return home to protect his family and forge new alliances in unexpected quarters. A monumental confrontation looms, with control over Rome hanging in the balance.
In the previous series, Suburra: Blood on Rome, it was revealed that Spadino left Rome after Aureliano’s death because he couldn’t cope with the pain and the criminal world. The new series starts with Spadino in Berlin, working as a DJ and having a new boyfriend named Mesut. Suddenly, he receives a call informing him of his mother’s death, prompting his return, at least for her burial.
Upon his return, Spadino discovers that the entire Anacleti family is in turmoil following his mother’s death, having lost everything. Witnessing this devastation, he resolves to seek revenge for her death and reclaim what he believes is rightfully the Anacleti’s. Furthermore, he learns that his ex-wife, Angelica, conspired with her current husband’s family, the Lucianis, to orchestrate his mother’s murder.
The series juggles multiple storylines, from the political dealings regarding Rome’s stadium to the church’s issues, intertwined with the familial struggles of individuals involved in the drug trade. Despite this complexity, everything converges towards a singular ambition: gaining power. This series caters to fans of the previous movies and series. I’d recommend watching it only if you’re familiar with the previous storyline; otherwise, it might be overwhelming due to the interconnected plots.
In essence, Suburraeterna revisits familiar themes and storylines from its predecessors, yet lacks the captivating characters that initially drew audiences in. It attempts a renewal by delving into contemporary issues through the resurgence of dissent movements within the capital. Notably, it critiques the actions of the city’s leadership, portraying the construction of a stadium as a narrative response, an attempt to pacify the populace without addressing deeper societal concerns. The series teases the potential revival of Rome’s apocalyptic imagery, an idea hinted at for years. However, its primary focus lies elsewhere, shedding light on the clandestine dealings of unscrupulous individuals who wield power in the city.
The show did excel in creating a tense and gritty atmosphere, characterised by a blend of suspenseful storytelling and visually stunning cinematography. Rome, with its iconic landmarks and contrasting landscapes, becomes a character itself, its allure juxtaposed with its underbelly of crime and corruption. The series adeptly captures the city’s dichotomy, presenting a facade of elegance while exposing the illicit dealings lurking in its shadows.
While Suburraeterna introduces more action than its predecessors, its storytelling suffers from disjointed progression, relying on juxtapositions rather than cohesive narrative arcs. It grapples with the familiar pitfalls of didactic scripting, overly explanatory dialogues, and at times, overly dramatic performances.
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One of the show’s weaknesses lies in its multifaceted characters. With numerous characters, each possessing their own intricate storylines, it becomes confusing to determine the primary focus or to align with a particular character, aside from Spadino. The Lucianis family arc was compelling, particularly with the intriguing narrative surrounding them; however, the subplot involving Spadino’s mother’s demise didn’t affect me much. Besides these central narratives, many characters seemed unnecessary, almost deserving of their own separate series.
The killings and bombings happened too easily and felt really unsettling. It seemed like bombs were being set off without much thought in places where people lived. I wondered why the police didn’t step in. Also, it seemed strange that the Lucianis said they wouldn’t hurt kids, but using bombs could still cause harm. Regrettably, the series remains stagnant, lacking a forward trajectory. Moreover, the show refrains from speculation or exploration, instead swiftly categorising itself within a predefined operational framework.
Suburræterna Review: Final Thoughts
Suburraeterna revisits Rome’s criminal underbelly with familial turmoil and political intrigue. While capturing the city’s dichotomy between elegance and corruption, it lacks compelling characters beyond Spadino. The series juggles multiple plotlines, grappling with disjointed storytelling and excessive exposition.
Despite its visually stunning portrayal of Rome, the ease of violence and police inaction raises realism concerns. Struggling to break free from predefined boundaries, it feels stagnant and lacks a clear narrative trajectory. Though attempting contemporary relevance, it falls short in character depth and fails to recapture the franchise’s initial allure, leaving it with a shadow of its predecessor’s magnetism.
The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Have you watched Suburræterna 2023? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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