Robbing Mussolini (2022): Review- A Pure Heist, A Romantic Story, or…

Robbing Mussolini (2022): Review- A Pure Heist, A Romantic Story, or…

Heist films have evolved from the sophisticated efforts in the Ocean’s Trilogy, to the theme of mind heists in Inception, right to that Zombie heist in Army of the Dead. The genre has scope for experimentation, with a crucial one relatively unexplored. I’m talking about wartime heists here and this one, per the introduction, is based on a somewhat true story. Set around the time the Allied forces liberated certain European nations in 1945, Robbing Mussolini aka (Rapiniamo il Duce) focuses on a group of rebels attempting to steal Il Duce’s gold. Can one call it The Italian Job

The Italian production’s central focus is on a band of misfits led by Isola. Their aim is to orchestrate a heist from within the ‘Black Zone’. Robbing Mussolini follows the template of the heist films, with recruitment, planning, and twists coming in at the expected moments. Such a take on the movie’s progression will have divisive views. 

What’s good about Robbing Mussolini?

The film largely reminded me of Quentin Tarantino’s style of filmmaking in the animation scenes. This pulp effect reminded me, particularly of Inglorious Basterds and Kill Bill. As a heist film, this isn’t purely brain and class. Robbing Mussolini, essentially a drama, has elements of comedy and action; the former being the saving grace. 

Director Renato De Maria, who also wrote this uniquely set heist film, imagined an action-packed climax. What ideally was supposed to be the established protagonists stealing from the established antagonists had another aspect to it. In prioritizing this, the supporting cast didn’t get left out. If you wondered why one character’s skillset was highly valued, you need to watch this film till the end. The final scene, if viewed from one perspective, can be seen as a heist in itself. 

Robbing Mussolini’s music had a joyous element to it, with it matching the tone of the imminent conclusion of the war. This film’s costumes really stood out, with Yvonne’s attire stealing the spotlight. The others didn’t, which worked well as they were supposed to be bland wartime costumes in dire need of a dash of color. 

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What’s Not Good About Robbing Mussolini?

The planning of the heist felt quite rushed in Rapiniamo il Duce. Although they couldn’t actually go in and stake out The Black Zone, an animated rendition of the entire thing could have helped things. This, as when the actual heist was in progress, audiences would have had the satisfaction of seeing everything fall into place. 

Had this been in place, one would have experienced the satisfaction of a plan working like clockwork. Hence, the setbacks would have hit way harder. I did say that the twists came in at the expected moments, but for those who haven’t watched this genre, it may have been too boring without being able to engage with the film. The imminent twist may have kept others hooked, but it lacked that intriguing build-up. 

The final scene didn’t work for me as Mussolini didn’t really lose anything. In fact, Isola, Marcello, and co may have actually saved Italy but gone back to square one. Leaving it open to interpretation only ensured that Renato De Maria’s Netflix Original film was a story of a romance set around a heist rather than the expected vice versa. 

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Robbing Mussolini (Rapiniamo il Duce) is unique in the canon of heist films, with the war element fused in. There is some level of drama, anticipation, intrigue, and excitement created as the story plays out on screen. It has the potential to offer audiences the opportunity to witness two different heists, the titular one and the actual one. Was that a heist too? It remains open for interpretation. 

This Netflix film has the potential to entertain. Even though audiences can predict what’s next, it would be unfair to brand Robbing Mussolini as an effort that robbed you of almost 90-odd minutes. Watch it. 

Robbing Mussolini is streaming on Netflix.

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