“Stolen Dough” | Independent Movie Review

J. Zimmerman | Independent Movie Review

Stolen Dough is a feature documentary directed by AFI Award Winner Stefano Da Frè. The film recounts the true story of Anthony Mongiello, who, at 18, invents [pizza crust stuffed with cheese], only to have [a national pizza restaurant] steal his creation. Borrowing $3,000, he files a patent on this groundbreaking pizza innovation, following in his father’s footsteps—his father being the inventor of the string cheese sticks that made the stuffed crust possible. After multiple attempts to sell his groundbreaking idea, Anthony saw no headway, although he did send his patent to [the national pizza restaurant] twice.

In 1995, [the national pizza restaurant] launched the stolen concept shamelessly, triggering a one billion dollar lawsuit. The film delves into Anthony’s journey through cinematic recreations, interviews, and archival footage, exposing one of the biggest and most overlooked corporate frauds in America. Bobby Kruger (House of Cards, Money Monster, Paterno) portrays a Young Paul Sutton, Anthony’s legal representative, in a crucial settlement meeting with [the national pizza restaurant] lawyers. “Stolen Dough” is a concise, gripping narrative that unfolds the layers of corporate betrayal, legal battles, and Anthony’s unwavering fight to preserve his idea and legacy.

Cody Pomposello as “Young Anthony Mongiello” in Stolen Dough

At only 46 minutes in length, “Stolen Dough” is quite concise for a film with such scope. The documentary weaves dramatic portrayals of Anthony’s legal struggle with [the national pizza restaurant] alongside archival footage and insightful interviews featuring Anthony, his family, and Paul Sutton—a nationally renowned patent lawyer who played a pivotal role in defending Anthony during his legal battle with the pizza restaurant giant. Several former [national pizza restaurant] workers are interviewed as well, giving first-hand accounts of how these pizzas were made in the restaurants where they worked. Those interested in legal drama, food history, and exposé documentaries will be fascinated by this deep dive into a little-known case of corporate theft.

There are very few complaints that could be made about this film, most of them stylistic. The one that bothered me enough to mention is the overuse of the rewind effect throughout the film: Once or twice would have been enough. Personally, I would have liked to hear a bit more legal analysis and see some more of the archival footage of Anthony’s meetings with [the national pizza restaurant] legal representation. Other than these small issues, this documentary is fantastic, one of the best I’ve seen in the past several months. “Stolen Dough” treads the line between popular and critical appeal, providing a compelling and dramatic narrative about [a national pizza restaurant’s] dirty laundry. “Stolen Dough” is available for rental or purchase on Amazon Prime. This documentary is highly recommended.

4.5* (Out of 5)