Mob Land is a new crime thriller drama film set in a small town somewhere in the southern region of the United States of America. At the center of this film is the story of a man named Shelby Conners, who gets involved in a crime that immediately lands him in more trouble than he had hoped for. Along with the plot and the actions themselves, the film also brings out the more subtle need for such actions and the desperation that people in such small towns often have to keep in order to make ends meet. Overall, Mob Land is a fairly entertaining and effective watch, pulled together through some commendable acting performances.
What is the film about?
At the center of Mob Land are protagonist Shelby Conners and his family, with whom we are introduced in the opening minutes of the film. Shelby is an out-of-luck construction worker and also a drag racer during his free time, and it is this side profession that seems to bring him more money temporarily. Back at home, the man has his wife, Caroline, and their young daughter, Mila, to look after. Although he never really expresses much about it, Shelby is indeed in some financial straits and is, therefore, always on the lookout for some extra means of income. The Conner family is also friends with two individuals who quickly become important in the entire plot as well. The first is a man named Trey, who happens to be Caroline’s brother and, therefore, the protagonist’s brother-in-law. The other man is Bodie Davis, the local veteran sheriff in the town. Both Trey and Bodie often frequent the Conner house, and they all meet at times to have dinner together.
During one particular time, when Caroline and Mila are supposed to visit Caroline’s parents’ place in Tupelo, Trey comes in with a business proposition for Shelby. The man had found out that the local doctor’s clinic in the town had been making immense money by selling addictive opioids to peddlers and junkies. The prevalent habit of opioid abuse in the town is not unknown to Shelby either, for he has seen people his own age get addicted and then die because of it. Trey now proposes that he and Shelby go rob the doctor’s clinic and steal all the money that must be there. Shelby immediately knows the dangers of running such a risky crime, and it is suggested that he and Trey have committed other such crimes in faraway cities like New York as well. However, Shelby is also desperate for money, with the livelihood of his young family bothering him, and he finally agrees to help Trey with the risky plan.
How does Shelby find himself in more trouble than before?
During the planned robbery, Shelby is told to be the getaway driver and not get much involved while Trey carries out the operation. But in the chaos of the moment, Trey does not keep too calm either, and he ends up shooting two men dead. They are able to steal the money and a significant number of opioid pills from the clinic, but they are also chased by a car full of goons who must have been involved with the illegal business. It is also during this time that Sheriff Bodie Davis gets involved, as he is alerted to the robbery and gives chase to the two cars. Trey and Shelby are able to escape and secure the loot, but they both realize that more danger will be heading their way soon.
Such danger does arrive very quickly, in the form of a hardened contract killer named Clayton Minor, who comes to town in search of the two clinic robbers. As it turns out, the opioid business in the doctor’s clinic was being run by a powerful mafia group settled in New Orleans, and after their money and stash were stolen, they sent in Clayton to find the perpetrators. It does not take Clayton long to find out who is responsible for the crime at the clinic, and he first gets his hands on Trey. Through the older man, Clayton also reaches Shelby while also finding out about Caroline and Mila’s whereabouts. Shelby is immediately ready and willing to return all the stolen money and drugs, but the criminal Clayton is simply not happy with that much. The contract killer murders Trey right in front of Shelby’s eyes, extremely violently, too, suffocating the man with a plastic bag on his face. He then takes total control of Shelby’s life, forcing him towards more crime, as the mafia now needs to get rid of any clues or loose ends.
Two important people—a worker at the clinic named Ms. Whitney and the doctor at the clinic himself—were still alive and unharmed after the robbery incident. However, with a crime having occurred at their workplace, both of them were now directly questioned and in close contact with the police. The New Orleans mafia obviously did not take this well, and they ordered Clayton to kill both individuals. Clayton now decides that it would be best to get these killings done by Shelby, for the man would be desperate enough to do whatever Clayton would tell him to do. This is because the hitman was threatening to reach Tupelo and cause harm to his wife and daughter. As is perhaps quite natural, Shelby does comply with every order that he is given and is simply controlled by Clayton.
It is Shelby who drives Clayton around and takes him to the doctor, whom the hitman shoots dead on the road. The two men then go over to Ms. Whitney’s house, where Shelby shoots the helpless woman dead. With each of these newer crimes committed, Shelby’s guilt and anger at himself are very much seen and felt, but the harsh reality of his situation, which had been created because of his first desperate decision, also trumps everything else. It is also revealed that Shelby suffers from Parkinson’s, making his situation all the more worse, and it was for this reason that he was not getting much work.
On the other side, the veteran sheriff, Bodie Davis, had also started to investigate the robbery and the following acts of violence that suddenly stirred up the small town. It was initially stated by the sheriff’s department that the robbery at the clinic must have been carried out by rival drug dealers or addicts who only wanted to get hold of the stash, and the stolen money was just something they happened to find. However, with other men who had been present at the clinic dying, Bodie realizes that there is a mafia gang in play here, who have been carefully killing off people to ensure no trace of them can be found. During all this time, Trey also remains missing from the outside world since Shelby got rid of his body in a secluded lake. It is primarily to look for Trey that Sheriff Bodie visits Shelby’s house, but on his second visit, he grows quite suspicious.
It is during this second visit that Bodie spots Clayton with Shelby, and seeing a new man like this amidst such rampant crime and violence in the town makes him cautious. Bodie does not say anything to the man but instead asks Shelby whether everything is alright. The sheriff guesses that Shelby is indeed in some sort of trouble but expects the man to come clean to him. Perhaps Bodie is not prepared for how dangerous and threatening a man Clayton is, and so he does not think that Shelby might be scared of the man even when he is not directly in front of them. Nonetheless, Bodie does take precautions against Shelby’s family in Tupelo, as he calls up the police department and asks to ensure the family’s safety. Unfortunately, though, Sheriff Bodie cannot ensure such safety or protection for the miserable Shelby.
What Happens to Shelby, Caroline, Bodie, and Clayton?
When Shelby commits the murders he is told to do by Clayton, the protagonist genuinely believes that listening to the hitman’s orders will save his life. However, what he does not have any idea about is the fact that the New Orleans mafia boss has directly asked for the death of Shelby since he had committed the grave crime of stealing from the mafia. During Mob Land‘s ending, Clayton takes Shelby to the meeting spot with the mafia boss and then shoots the protagonist dead.
Clayton receives full payment in cash from the boss because he has fulfilled what has been asked of him. However, something strikes in the man’s mind, and it seems almost like Clayton is taken over by a sense of guilt or remorse for his action. Through his time with Shelby, Clayton realized that the man had committed the robbery out of financial desperation. Perhaps the hitman did not expect that Shelby would indeed be killed in the end, and this ending for the helpless man strikes him. Clayton now decides to take his own action by shooting dead all the mafia members and then giving Shelby’s body a proper burial.
Caroline returns to the town alone after learning of her husband’s mysterious disappearance since nobody knows what happened to Shelby. The woman mentions having left her daughter back with her parents until she figured out what had happened. In the final moments of the film, it is revealed that Clayton leaves the entire stash of money that had been recovered back at Shelby’s house. He intends for Caroline to spend the money on her own life and also on that of her young daughter, Mila.
However, right after Clayton walks out of the house, he is shot dead by a precise bullet, and we only see a hand picking up the bullet from the ground afterward. Although it is not clearly seen, this killer of Clayton is most definitely sheriff Bodie Davis, who has been investigating the case for quite some time now. Bodie must have been following Clayton after Shelby had gone missing and had, therefore, figured out what had happened. Knowing well that adhering to the law would only let Clayton escape, Bodie decides to take no chances and instead shoots the man dead himself.