One of the many perks of being a film student in New York City is having the opportunity to take advantage of the industry here. Like tonight, when I got to see the upcoming film Rob the Mob before its initial release.
Contrary to what I thought when I first heard the title, it's not a mob movie about a guy named Rob. The film is based off a true story that took place right here in New York in the 90's, when a young couple started up a Bonnie and Clyde scheme, holding up mafia social clubs throughout Queens.
Michael Pitt as Tommy and Nina Arianda as Rosie are a dynamic duo. The chemistry between the actors was superb. And it had to be - though the title may seem misleading, the film's director Raymond de Felitta insists that this is not just another mob movie.
"I didn't want to make another one of those," he said. He'd seen Goodfellas. He'd seen The Godfather. For much of his career, he's been working with the casting director from The Sopranos. He didn't believe he could top that, but neither did he want to make any old mafia flick.
"It's their love story," he insisted. A tragedy of epic and everyday proportions. And although there is still a certain emphasis on the mob and the FBI in the film, who both played significant roles in the real story - both encapsulated emphatically by Ray Ramano and Andy Garcia in their respective roles - the whole film hinges on Tommy and Rosie. Although the film never presents them as anything other than what they are, scraping the bottom of the barrel, only one mishap away from a big prison sentencing, within the first few minutes you spend with this couple, you grow attached. They're quirky. They're a little nuts. But for some reason, it works. Despite the twistedness of their situation, the sincerity of their relationship and their adoration towards one another is utterly alluring. As things continue to spiral more and more out of their control, you become more aware of your own affection for these two characters..
At many times roaringly hilarious, deeply romantic, and somber in its realism, Rob the Mob is worth the watch. If you can see it in your area, take the trip to the local theatre. As its director promises, you're in for more than just another mob movie.