This Thing Of Ours

Three mob-connected young bloods engineer a brilliant Internet heist but fall victim to internecine rivalries over which they have no control in this familiar but well-told tale. Nicky Santini (director, co-writer and co-producer Danny Provenzano), Robert Biaggio (Christian Maelen) and Austin Palermo (Louis Vanaria) have been pals since they were kids. Nicky...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Three mob-connected young bloods engineer a brilliant Internet heist but fall victim to internecine rivalries over which they have no control in this familiar but well-told tale. Nicky Santini (director, co-writer and co-producer Danny Provenzano), Robert Biaggio (Christian Maelen) and Austin Palermo (Louis Vanaria) have been pals since they were kids. Nicky and Robert are roughnecks — though Nicky is a roughneck with a made man for an uncle — while Austin is a computer geek. The three tyros plan to bring "this thing of ours" — the cosa nostra — into the 21st century if they have to drag it by its crocodile loafer-clad heels. Austin has figured out a way to rob billions of dollars online by taking advantage of a soon-to-close loophole in the encryption codes banks use to protect wire transfers. The genius is that by skimming a couple of dollars each off millions of transactions, they can as good as guarantee the victims will never even realize they've been robbed. But they need money up front — $50 million — which Nicky solicits from his Uncle Danny (Frank Vincent). Danny in turn offers several longtime associates the opportunity to buy in; most of them turn him down cold, since knocking over delivery trucks is more their speed than manipulating electronic information. As is so often the case, the crime goes off fine and the aftermath is the killer. Furious that he blew off a golden opportunity, ostentatious old-timer Patsy DeGrazio (Michael DelGaizo) orders one of his underlings to kidnap Austin and make him, yes, an offer he can't refuse. Robert and Nicky intervene, but the seeds of a blood feud have been planted and the red harvest isn't long in coming. If ever anyone followed the writing-class advice to write what he knows, it's first-time director Danny Provenzano, whose great uncle, "Tony Pro" Provenzano, was an associate of the Genovese crime family suspected in the disappearance of mobbed-up labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. Danny Provenzano himself was indicted in 2001 on 44 counts of racketeering, kidnapping, failure to pay taxes and other misdeeds and took a plea. Though his brisk crime picture lacks the epic resonance of THE GODFATHER (1972) or GOODFELLAS (1990), it features generally crisp dialogue, solid performances by a mix of newcomers and familiar character actors, and Provenzano's direction is strikingly accomplished.

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