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Originally published Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

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‘Rob the Mob’: Gangsters of love, stealing from wrong crowd

Charmingly in love and criminally foolish, the couple at the center of “Rob the Mob” seemed destined for a bad ending — but we root for them anyway.


Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 3 stars

‘Rob the Mob,’ with Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Ray Romano, Andy Garcia. Directed by Raymond De Felitta, from a screenplay by Jonathan Fernandez. 104 minutes. Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual material and brief drug use. Sundance Cinemas.

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Is there room in the history of cinema for one more Mafia movie, full of guns and deep-voiced deadpan gentlemen and delicious-looking Italian food? Sure, when it’s as intriguing as this one. “Rob the Mob,” from director Raymond De Felitta (“City Island”), is based on the true story of Tommy and Rosie Uva , a sort of Bonnie and Clyde of Queens who went on a robbery spree in the early 1990s. Their targets were Mafia social clubs, where guns are forbidden and cops are never called. Smart strategy? Well, try to imagine how this could conceivably have a happy ending.

It’s a story so outlandish that it needs to be served by a combination of drama and comedy, and “Rob the Mob” finds that balance quite well. (About two-thirds/one-third, respectively.) And, in the hands of Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda, the movie becomes a whacked-out love story. You can see how Pitt’s eager, haunted Tommy will do anything for Arianda’s Rosie, who’s got wide eyes, a big happy laugh and the kind of endless smile that makes springtime come. By the time a mob reporter (Ray Romano) comes along, Rosie’s ready to talk (that’s Tommy “with two m’s,” she advises helpfully), and we’re ready to believe that these two empty-headed sweethearts deserve all their ill-gotten gains. We see Tommy and Rosie, deliriously in love, laughing as they splash through rain puddles, and we root for them. In life, they can’t possibly win; in a movie, we hope that maybe they can.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com



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