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.
“Kid, you know where the fuck you are?
Yeah, I’m at 140 Union Avenue.
I got the address right, right?
Yeah, that’s it. That’s the address.”
What a terrific movie. A film I’ve watched in amazement and where I was wondering all the time how for God’s sake it could be possible that this has occurred in reality in New York in the 90s. Don’t expect to see a gangster epos or something as similar as “The Godfather“, simply because it’s about the mafia. It’s rather amusing at times, it’s honest and it’s, strange but true, extremely funny in a goofy way. I laughed out loud several times about the madcap situations Tommy and Rosie found themselves in (the first hold-up cracked me up).
This sympathetic, but not so clever and very naive, couple ensured that the Italian mafia didn’t know what to do when someone suddenly started holding up clubs where members of the mafia gathered. First you see Tommy and Rosie as real crack addicts, committing a robbery at a florist. After their imprisonment (and apparently sobered) they decided to stay on the straight path and started to work for a collection agency that’s run by someone who wasn’t afraid to do illegal stuff himself in the past and who practised the motto that everyone deserves a second chance in life. Until Tommy and Rosie realize that they are underpaid and supporting themselves will become very difficult. That’s when Tommy comes up with the insane idea to rob the mafia. During the trial of mobster John Gotti, he diligently wrote down addresses of those famous clubs. And one additional benefit is that weapons are out of the question there (“Guns and wiseguys is a bad mix“). The idea to rob them is indeed brilliant because nobody gives a damn about that. Not the public opinion and certainly not the authorities. And the last thing the mafia will do is to contact the police to file a complaint against some unknown persons.
“Rob the Mob” is not a mafia movie par excellence with liquidations and bloody reprisals, opponents that are buried in concrete somewhere or an omertà being broken. Ultimately, the role of the mafia in this film is reduced to that of a bunch of retired veterans, only left with their reputation and subsequently two young people make them look foolish. The whole focus is on this touchingly couple in love. The way Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda give shape to these characters, is simply magnificent. Tommy is the gullibility itself and you can see him evolve from clumsy to recklessly. His motivation for these actions is fueled by what this intimidating gang did wrong to his father in the past (which is seen frequently during flashbacks). Rosie is a lovely girl that follows Tommy without hesitation in this reckless adventure. She looks so disarmingly innocent with an engaging big laugh that camouflages her intellectual deficiencies. Arianda’s acting is fascinating. The two main characters complement each other perfectly and act very natural. Pitt apparently has a sense for quality films. I saw him shine in the movie “I Origins“, which I thought was also an impressive film.
Besides the two main characters, a series of famous film stars appear in it, giving it the right atmosphere. There’s Andy Garcia (Terry Benedict in Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen) as the illustrious godfather “Big Al” from the Vazallo family. Complete with an impressive gray beard which makes him look more like a grandfather enjoying his old age. Ray “Everybody loves Raymond” Romano shows up as the columnist who plunges into the improbable story of “Bonnie and Clyde” after Rosie called him, to his surprise, to point out there’s a flaw in his previous article. Griffin Dune plays the amusing role of Dave Lovell, the enthusiastic owner of the collection agency (delightful part). And the mafia members all played in some mafia-related film in the past. Michael “The Sopranos” Rispoli, Yul “American Gangster” Vazquez, Burt “Once upon a time in America” Young (a 75-year-old bloke that can still throw in a solid punch), Joseph “The Sopranos” Gannascoli, John “Mob Queen” Tormey, Garry “The Sopranos” Pastore, Santo “The Sopranos” Fazio, Vincent “The Family” Riviezzo. They all ensured that the authentic feeling of an Italian mafia-family is convincing. I only missed a collective feast while all eating a homemade spaghetti with meatballs in tomato sauce made by an authentic Italian mama.
This surely is a must-see movie if you like a casual and clownish film. After “The Godfather” episodes there still have been successful and less successful attempts to portray organized crime. The best description I read found on the website “The Playlist“: “De Felitta takes a true story that occurred in the early ’90s, adds two energized leads, a pinch of bearded Andy Garcia and a screenplay that goes down like cold ice-tea on a hot summer day to cook up a nice little homage to the good ol’ days.“. But for those who know the real story of Thomas and Rosemarie Uva, it certainly won’t be a surprising ending.