Directed by Raymond De Felitta
Written by Jonathan Fernandez
Starring Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Andy Garcia, Ray Romano
A Queens couple who specialize in robbing mafia social clubs stumble upon a score bigger than they could ever imagine, becoming targets of both the mob and the FBI in the process.
A tale of two doomed lovers has rarely recently been told so eloquently. The story of Tommy and Rosie, nicknamed Bonnie & Clyde due to their actions, is based on a true story that is so outlandish it couldn’t be anything but true.
After being released from prison, Tommy goes back home to Queen’s, to the girl who has been waiting for him throughout his incarceration. Rosie has got a job and got on with her life, just waiting for her true love to return to her. Tommy’s first thought is for Rosie and the new life they can begin together, now that he is free.
Sounds sweet, right? And it really is. These two seem completely and unequivocally meant for one another. Sure, they display all of idealism and dreams of two young people that bare little resemblance to the harsh reality that they steadfastly appear to be refusing to become victims of, but what the hell, Tommy is hatching a plan. Nothing can stop them, not even unencumbered stupidity.
This will probably remind you mostly of True Romance more than the likes of Natural Born Killers for example, as Fernandez’ script is sprinkled liberally with more character study than stylish ultra-violence or mob shenanigans and the comparisons to Bonnie & Clyde are worthy, as these two young (and foolish) people are extremely likeable. Sure, they have many flaws, not least their foolhardy approach without thought for consequence, but their crimes come from such an innocent, sweet and admirable place, that it is difficult to dislike their innocence.
Pitt and Arianda play off each other beautifully and it is easy to forget that the two of them are even acting. Arianda particularly shines in the role of Rosie, completely besotted and sweetly pretty, ready to take on the world with her man by her side. She is reluctant at first to go along with Tommy’s plan but is easily coerced, such is her faith in him. They are supported by jaded New York journalist Jerry Cardozo (Ray Romano) who picks up their story and interviews them for his column. He too is taken in by their bare-faced cheek and front, but also sees like us, that they are heading for a train wreck that they just can’t see coming.
Played out to a backdrop of John Gotti’s trial, De Felitta’s direction is always reliable, crisp and pleasing throughout, choosing an eclectic soundtrack which reaches it height with a scene played out to Dream, Dream, Dream performed by Johnny Mathis, which most will find very satisfying.
In all, Rob The Mob is a very pleasing surprise. Great performances from the main cast and their support, direction that never feels manhandled and played out in some great locations. This true story may draw in audiences that may be attracted by the mob story, but those that come for the characters and the love story that winds its way through will leave more satisfied. One of the biggest surprises of the year and likely, at least for now, to find a place in my top ten films of the year.