Well acted with sound direction from De Felitta

Rob the Mob tells the true story of the madly-in-love couple Tommy and Rosie Uva, and how they robbed the mob during the 90’s, while mob boss John Gotti was on trial. The pair are no strangers to breaking the law, and after Tommy serves out his 18-month prison sentence, he starts a new job beside Rosie, working the phones at a debt-collection joint. Tommy is a restless soul and when the couple begin to struggle paying the bills, Tommy comes up with a crazy plan to earn some quick cash.

Tommy is played by Michael Pitt, who most recently gave a great performance as the crazy Mason Verger in the hit TV show Hannibal. While Pitt’s character here isn’t as crazy as some the actor has played in the past, Tommy is just eccentric enough for Pitt to demonstrate his off-kilter acting chops. Tommy is just out of prison when Rosie talks her boss into hiring him, hoping they both can lead a normal life, but she worships Tommy and is eventually persuaded to go along with his stick up plan.

Rob the Mob
Directed by
Raymond De Felitta
Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Andy Garcia
DVD Release Date
24 June 2014
Nav’s Grade: B

Rosie was played wonderfully by the charismatic Nina Arianda. Arianda will be playing Janis Joplin in a new biopic about the songstress, and after seeing her standout performance here, I can see that she’s the ideal person to play the legendary singer. The actress really handled this role well and not once did she miss a beat. Her bubbly portrayal of Rosie played off Pitt’s character just so, which helped strike the right balance. The chemistry between the pair was pretty clear, which was a huge part of this film’s charm. It may sound strange hearing a film about the Mafia being described as charming but you have to remember this is as much a love story as it is about the couple stealing.

Tommy starts skipping work and going to the Gotti trial to listen to the evidence, and it’s here he picks up intel as Sammy the Bull explains during his testimony, how the Mob social clubs don’t allow anyone to carry firearms, because “Wiseguys and guns don’t mix.” Seeing the way Tommy bungles his way through the robberies was amusing, but because it was handled this way, we never felt as though they were ever in any danger. One example of how naive and inept the pair were, is when Rosie uses her own car as the getaway vehicle and makes no effort to disguise anything. Unknown to the couple, because Gotti is on trial, all the known mob clubs and the mob bosses are being watched by the cops, so while they’re robbing the mob, the cops are watching the pair do it.

During one of the robberies, Tommy finds a detailed list that explains the organization and structure of the Mafia, and in the hands of the FBI, could bring about the rapid downfall of all the wiseguys’ named on the list. It doesn’t take long before the couple–who are being called the new Bonnie & Clyde–have a contract out on them. The person responsible for putting out the hit on the pair is Big Al, played by Andy Garcia. At first Al only wants the couple frightened off, but after they find the list and make threats about releasing it to the Feds if anything happens to them, Al decides it’s time to end it.

Garcia done a great job playing the mob boss, and actually made us somewhat sympathetic towards Big Al. His character had an interesting backstory–as did Pitt’s character Tommy–which, as well as adding a good deal of depth, helped us understand why they acted as they did. Just how much sympathy director Raymond De Felitta wanted us to feel for Big Al, I’m not quite sure, but it was a novel way to approach a film of this sort.

The inspirational supporting cast alone were worth seeing this movie for, and my favorite was Rosie’s boss Dave. Dave is played by An American Werewolf in London actor Griffin Dunne, and the reason I liked the Dave character so much was because he reminded me of several folk I’ve known in real life. Dave was one of those bosses who always tries to be “one of the guys,” but unlike some, Dave actually pulls it off. Dave is an ex-con himself and gives other ex-con’s a break by giving them a job. Because Dave is crazy about Wiseguys he’s easily talked into joining Tommy and Rosie when they skip work to go to the Gotti trial, to listen to the evidence. But it’s also so Tommy can get the address of the next score.

Overall Rob the Mob looks extremely good as the 90’s look and feel has been faithfully recreated. Jonathan Fernandez’s script was tonally perfect and it looks as though the writer has really done his research into that time period. Raymond De Felitta’s direction is solid, as is the acting with the score also helping to bring this true story to life. I also found the film fascinating because I dig anything to do with the Mafia.

Review by Nav Qateel