Director: Raymond De Felitta
Starring: Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Andy Garcia, Ray Romano
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Synopsis: A Queens couple decide to rob Mafia social clubs and stumble upon some rather valuable information. The couple soon become targets of both the mob and the FBI.
Raymond De Felitta brings to life the true story of Tommy and Rosemarie Uva that offers an animated, yet compassionate treatment of the Queens couple as we follow their get-rich-quick scheme of targeting Mafia social clubs.
Set in New York City in 1991, during the heightened media attention surrounding the John Gotti trial, small-time crooks Tommy (Michael Pitt) and Rosie (Nina Arianda) Uva are stuck in a financial slump. Tommy quickly thinks of a plan to rob Mafia social clubs, although his reasoning is personal. Armed with an Uzi he can barely handle and far from well thought out plan the couple rob several Mafia social clubs, and garner a Bonnie and Clyde reputation thanks to friendly journalist Jerry Cardozo (Ray Romano).
The couple soon stumble upon a secret yet valuable piece of information. Believing they hold a golden ticket, Tommy and Rosie use the find as a bargaining chip entering into a mob contract to secure their safety. Big Al (Andy Garcia) has other ideas and instructs his men to track the couple down. However, the Feds are on the trail wanting to use the information to dismantle New York’s already-faltering crime syndicate once and for all. For Tommy and Rosie, caught between the law and a mob contract, the future depends on who gets to them first.
The film as a whole is enjoyable, with the nuances of humour and drama which builds during the films progression. ROB THE MOB introduces a refreshing take on traditional mafia movies, with a story that follows two characters which are hard to identify. Are Tommy and Rosemarie heroes, victims, or masters of their own demise? Either way you can’t deny the infectious like-ability of the two, which is hard to believe. Felitta certainly has a talent in making the audience fall in love with depraved characters that would normally only be thought of as secondary in Mafia films.
Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda fill the roles of Tommy and Rosemarie; both have an unwavering chemistry and are joyous to watch. Nina Arianda is a clear standout star, with her strong Jersey accent and ditzy yet loveable persona. Pitt and Arianda were perfect casting choices and there chemistry on screen oozes an intensity that’s consumed by both adoration and sadness. Felitta masterfully illustrates the couple’s romance as a primary emotion that overtakes fear. Their criminal exploits garner a humanist drama that is steeped in gushing romanticism, yet not so much that it poses too much of a distraction.
The film does portray an interesting and alternative view of the organised crime group. In many classics the mafia are gratuitous, violent and led by a strong ‘moral’ code. ROB THE MOB presents the mobsters as a bunch of ageing and overweight men that exhibit as much danger as a box of kittens. The film detracts from violence being a prominent visual focus, and instead uses the fear of violence to drive the film intensity and overwhelming danger Tommy and Rosemarie put themselves in.
ROB THE MOB reveals a human sentimentality between its two leading characters, Tommy and Rosemarie. The chemistry between the couple offers not an overly sentimental tale, but one that places risk and danger as a secondary thought. The couple’s actions are thoughtless and absurd, which is perfectly illustrated during the robbery scenes. The subtle humour ushers a light heartedness to the film and introduces a refreshing perspective of a mafia inspired crime drama.
Graced with an amazing cast, good humour and a nostalgic view of the seamy New York underworld, ROB THE MOB is great entertainment and a must-watch!
(4 / 5) ROB THE MOB is available now in the UK on digital and on-demand platforms that include iTunes, Blinkbox, Film4 OD, Amazon Prime, SKY movies, and FilmFlex.