Saturday 29 October 2022

REVIEW: Robbing Mussolini (2022) A.K.A. Rapiniamo il Duce - Starring Pietro Castellitto and Matilda De Angelis

Review by Jon Donnis
Robbing Mussolini is a historical heist comedy-drama film directed by Renato De Maria, and starring Pietro Castellitto, Matilda De Angelis, Tommaso Ragno, Isabella Ferrari and Filippo Timi.

The year is 1945, World War Two is coming to an end, and Il Duce (The Leader in Italian, referring to Benito Mussolini) is seeing the end coming, and not in a good way for him.

Pietro Lamberti (played by Pietro Castellitto) is an arms smuggler; he steals weapons and sells them to the resistance. During one such exchange he utters the words "I'm a thief, not a spy," when challenged by one of the members of the resistance, followed by "Spies don't make enough money.", this should give you a good idea of his character. The resistance tries a double cross, but Pietro is ready, before you know it the Fascists turn up, and all hell breaks loose. Everyone makes a run for it, but just as Pietro tries to recover his bag of cash, it gets hit by a bullet and the money gets destroyed. Luckily, he manages to escape, on the side of a motorbike with sidecar.

Pietro has couple of friends Marcello (played by Tommaso Ragno) and a young man Amedeo (played by Luigi Fedele). Pietro is also secretly dating singer, Yvonne (played by the stunning Matilde De Angelis), unfortunately for Pietro, Yvonne is also the mistress of Borsalino (Filippo Timi) who in turn is a secretary for Mussolini. Throw in the disgruntled movie star Nora Cavalieri (Isabella Ferrari) who is married to Borsalino, and you have quite a cast of characters already.

Pietro learns of the location of Mussolini's secret stash of stolen gold, jewellery and other riches, and decides that he is going to steal it. He just needs a few people to add to his crew and history's greatest heist can commence. Here we meet race car champion Fabbri (Marcello Macchia), explosives genius Molotov (Alberto Astorri) and pickpocket expert Hessa (Coco Rebecca Edoghame)

Now all they need is a plan.

Usually heist films come as two specific types, one is where there is twist after twist, with the ending explaining all the genius moves that the viewer didn't know about. The other type of heist movie is where people just get incredibly lucky and then spend their time trying to get away with it. Now when you set a film in WW2, you would think they would choose one or the other, but instead they end up somewhere in the middle, which I think is a mistake, as people who like heist films, (and I am one of them) really enjoy the twists and turns, and even the dumb luck routine. Robbing Mussolini tries a different route which on its own doesn't really impress. However, the film moves at such a fast pace, with so much going on, that you can pretty much forgive the fact this is supposed to be a heist movie, and just enjoy the story and action.

The film has a great soundtrack, lots of recognisable songs sang in Italian, everyone plays their part well, and each character is well defined and different. The action scenes are very well done, and the odd moment of CGI is not too obvious. I was slightly disappointed by the ending, because of some of the issues I have already mentioned regarding the usual route of a heist film. You get neither type here.

The Good
A fun, action packed film, with a great sound track. I was engaged throughout, and despite my complaints I thoroughly enjoyed most of the film.

The Bad
I didn't like the ending, and I think the heist element of the film needed to be much "smarter" with more twists.

Don't think of this so much as a heist film, if that is what you are a fan of, just think of this as an action comedy drama set in WW2, with fun characters and lots of action.

I score Robbing Mussolini a solid 7/10. Not quite "La casa de papel", but a good fun film regardless.

Out now on Netflix at