10th & Wolf

on August 18, 2006 by Ed Scheid
Based on the true story of the FBI agent known as “Donny Brasco” and the turf wars among the Philadelphia mob, “10th & Wolf” centers around Tommy Santoro (James Marsden), who finds out at an early age that the father he idolized was a killer. When their dad is gunned down, Tommy and his brother Vincent (Brad Renfro) move in with their cousin Joey (Giovanni Ribisi). The boys are like brothers, but it soon becomes clear that Joey has become active in the local crime syndicate.

Hoping to escape his family's ties to organized crime, Tommy enlists in the Marines. Disillusioned with the results of the first Gulf War, he assaults an MP and steals a colonel's jeep. After his arrest, FBI Agent Horvath (Brian Dennehy) makes Tommy a deal: He can avoid jail time if he returns to his family, wearing a wire so that the FBI can bring down the Sicilian who has recently become head of the Philadelphia mob. Horvath assures Tommy that the government has no interest in his cousin Joey. Back in Philly, Tommy is very disappointed to discover that his brother is now also working for Joey in the family “business” amid a violent rivalry between the Philadelphians and the Sicilians.

Throughout the continual cycle of violent revenge, “10th & Wolf,” so-named after the address of the diner where the boys hang out, focuses on the emotional bonds that connect Tommy to his crime family as he continually tries to protect Joey and Vincent. Director/writer Bobby Moresco, who won an Oscar for co-writing “Crash,” infuses the film with a gritty atmosphere and a pervasive sense of disappointment and deceit. A rather conventional plot is invigorated by intense lead performances from Marsden, Renfro and Ribisi, whose Joey is continually ready to explode in fierce anger, as well as a very good supporting cast, particularly Dennehy and Lesley Anne Warren as Tommy's aunt. Only a showy bit from Val Kilmer as a bar patron seems out of place. Starring James Marsden, Giovanni Ribisi, Brad Renfro and Piper Perabo. Directed and written by Bobby Moresco. Produced by Suzanne De Laurentiis, Leo Rossi and Joe Murphy. A ThinkFilm release. Crime drama. Running time: 110 min
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