TL;DR – It might not stick the landing, but it was an interesting romp through Italy at the end of WW2.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film
Robbing Mussolini Review –
If there is one genre I adore when it is done well, it is a Heist film. The setup, the betrayals, the secret moments that impact all, and then the suspense. Add to that a true story, well as the film admits a true-ish story, a location that is impossible to enter, and a looming end to the war with a seven-day countdown. Well, you have a good foundation for a Heist.
So to set the scene, we are in Milano (Milan) in 1945 at the tail end of WW2. Chaos abounds at fascist checkpoints in the city, as the Allies have already taken the south, and the march north has begun. It is a difficult time, with the Italian Fascists and Nazis on edge. In a movie theatre as Mussolini’s propaganda blares Isola (Pietro Castellitto), one of the last black marketers and Yvonne (Matilda de Angelis), a noted singer plot. For you see, there are riches in Milan that are about to be looted from the city, well, not if they have anything to say about it. I mean, it was not for entirely altruistic reasons, but altruistic adjacent.
The first area where this film shines is in its setting. The Italian Front is not often explored outside of its calamitous ending. You have a city under the thumb of fascists, but fascists are on the cusp of complete collapse. The future ruin makes the Fascists even more dangerous because their avenues of escape are rapidly closing. While this is happening, Allied bombers fly over the city, dropping their own damage. The sound of air sirens is the perfect backdrop for the heist of stolen national treasures.
We get an excellent rag team of heisters, the sniper Marcello (Tommaso Ragno), the forger Amedeo (Luigi Fedele), the explosives Molotov (Alberto Astorri), the driver Denis Fabbri (Maccio Capatonda), the thief (Coco Rebecca Edogamhe) and the leader Isola. There is the right about of experience and inexperience that you need to be not quite sure if they can pull it off but also hoping they do. Add to this, a reprehensive villain in Secretary Borsalino (Filippo Timi) and his equally duplicitous wife Nora (Isabella Ferrari). They hate each other with passion, which adds a new layer of danger to the escapade.
Where it did not quite come together was in the ending. There was a relatively straightforward narrative through line throughout the film that I didn’t mind. However, at the end, when the rubber meets the pavement, they try to pack in too many elements to support that narrative and not all of them work. Not all the twists were earned, and you felt the film was holding back in places that it should gone further with.
In the end, do we recommend Robbing Mussolini? Yes, I would, I don’t think it revolutionised the genre in any way, and the ending might get a bit too convolute. However, the characters are all great, the action sequences work well, and I liked them as a team. If you liked Robbing Mussolini, we would also recommend to you Widows.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Robbing Mussolini
Directed by – Renato De Maria
Screenplay by – Renato De Maria, Federico Gnesini &Valentina Strada
Music by – Yann McCullough
Cinematography by –Gianfilippo Corticelli
Edited by – Clelio Benevento
Production/Distribution Companies – BiBi Film, Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission & Netflix
Starring – Pietro Castellitto, Matilda de Angelis, Tommaso Ragno, Isabella Ferrari & Alberto Astorri with Maccio Capatonda, Luigi Fedele, Coco Rebecca Edogamhe, Maurizio Lombardi, Lorenzo de Moor, Luca lo Destro & Filippo Timi
Rating – Australia: M;