It turns out Rocco has a bit of a mysterious past, having previously entangled with a known hoodlum by the name of Eric Deeds, the dog has the scars to prove he's seen harder times having come out the worst from his dealings with the street thug. Deeds is a very calculated individual and with a physical presence that towers over Tom Hardy we get an immediate chill from the danger which radiates from his presence. We soon learn that Deeds is connected with an unsolved murder which begins to trouble Saginowski, especially when Deeds reveals he has some unfinished business with Rocco and begins to shake the pair down for some money, whilst looming sinisterly in the background to assert his control over the situation.
Bob introduces Rocco to his neighbour Nadia who helps keep an eye on him, Nadia who has some scars of her own, immediately associates with the dog and a love interest begins to bloom. Nadia reminds Tom that Rocco is a pit bull, a very dangerous breed known for their innate aggression, but only when left in the hands of a malicious master, Nadia gives us the message that this dog will only bite if it’s backed into a corner, but until then he plays a rather unassuming role. Rocco’s very much the gentle type, a bit shy - his hobbies include long walks along the seashore, playing with squeaky toys and the disposal of body parts.
Of course the movie has many masters, Marv a kind of Scrooge character, played by Gandolfini, is the character in charge of a drop operation which employees Bob and Rocco. The operation in turn is run by some Chechen gangsters and it’s interesting to see who exactly is pulling the strings when the curtain folds.
Early on in the film we learn that Rocco has very strong religious roots, but we're not so sure if he has his mind made up on being a fully fledged member of the church. When Detective Torres forewarns the temple may fall we begin to see the dark arm of the mob embrace our protagonist and the question that arises is whether Rocco will be left standing as a saint or a sinner!
The movie builds up to a dramatic showdown between Rocco and Eric Deeds at Marv’s bar, Marv makes his excuses so that the lead characters can carry on about their business, but he by no means bows out in what has to be remarked as a very memorable performance from the late James Gandolfini. The film is carried by the excellent performances from its lead characters who provide a very edgy screen presence coupled with some blurred camera shots that add to the suspense. It’s a movie worth seeing for this reason alone and Rocco provides enough bite to ensure you won’t leave the cinema disappointed.