It’s bad timing. Well, it’s not just that but it certainly doesn’t help that I saw Martin Scorcese’s THE DEPARTED and GOODFELLAS just before I sat to watch Bobby Moresco’s 10TH AND WOLF. When you’re making a mob movie, you have to be very careful not fall into every cliché possible. If you do, your movie goes one of two ways. It either ends up laughable or completely mediocre. After watching 10TH AND WOLF, I’m not sure which alternative is worse. At least when something is horrid, you can laugh at that. Mediocrity just brings attention to the time that is being wasted. 10TH AND WOLF tells the story of two brothers and a cousin who find themselves running a faction of the Italian mafia at a young age. One of the brothers, Tommy (James Marsden) just got back from a stint in the marines and some time serving in Operation Desert Storm. His issues regarding his family ties to the mafia caused him to make some bad choices while serving and he ends up in some trouble that gets him kicked out. He is given the choice to rat out his family before they get in too deep or go to jail for his mistakes. He chooses the road of the rat. What follows is a lot of trying real hard and falling far too short.
Moresco takes his first stab at directing with 10th AND WOLF after a successful run as a producer (MILLION DOLLAR BABY) and a writer (CRASH, with Paul Haggis). His intentions for the film are right up front on the DVD extras. Throughout the feature commentary, alongside producer Leo Rossi and editor Harvey Rosenstock, Moresco shares stories about the shots he loves and performance nuances he claims to have influenced. He genuinely believes in the mafia story he’s wanted to tell for a long time. Moresco is even seen in action on a “behind the scenes” featurette that focuses on an explosion scene from the later part of the film. He talks about how a director is supposed to ensure that all the pieces come together, that everyone is doing their job just as they should. In doing so, he sounds an awful lot more like a producer than a director and he sounds too close to the work to know when it isn’t working. The DVD also features five deleted scenes that are actually just messier versions of scenes that made it into the film.
10TH AND WOLF is a movie about a bunch of kids playing in the big leagues that feels like it was a made by a bunch of guys playing out of their league. I think Moresco should give his buddy Haggis a ring; see what he’s working on.