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Piranhas(La paranza dei bambini)

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Italy · 2019
1h 51m
Director Claudio Giovannesi
Starring Francesco Di Napoli, Artem Tkachuk, Viviana Aprea, Pasquale Marotta
Genre Crime, Drama

15-year-old Nicola lives with his mother and younger brother in a Naples, a place controlled by the Camorra mafia for centuries. Dreaming of a life of luxury, Nicola and his friends begin to sell drugs, exposing them to a violent world of crime that threatens their innocence, relationships, and safety.

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What are critics saying?


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

A familiar but arrestingly visceral crime story with a coming-of-age twist, Claudio Giovannesi’s Piranhas has an unusual relationship with its own predictability.


The New York Times by Glenn Kenny

In its reliance on a conventional narrative through-line, it’s more reminiscent of “The Public Enemy” than “Goodfellas” in spite of its stylings of contemporary cinematic realism.


Variety by Jessica Kiang

To watch young people fall into old patterns is still to watch those old patterns, and the film cannot escape the familiarity of its archetypal, rise-to-power, fall-from-grace narrative.


Screen Daily by Lee Marshall

Piranhas feels a bit like a teen movie that just happens to have a Cammora backdrop, rather than a serious, nuanced drama about the paranza system – essentially, the grooming of underage kids as drug runners and Mafia footsoldiers.


The Film Stage by Leonardo Goi

There is something so perceptive in the way Giovannesi zeroes in on these embryonic mafia bosses–especially as Piranhas ventures into the kids’ relationship with the adult world around them–which makes for an enjoyable if patchy 105-minute ride.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

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.

50 by Vikram Murthi

Piranhas generally succeeds whenever it leans into its hangout vibe. The teenage gang isn’t particularly memorable (names and personalities are eschewed for rowdy homogeneity) but their collective energy can be fun to watch, especially because it allows Giovannesi to document youth as currently lived.

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