Directed by: Michael R.Roksam
Written by: Dennis Lehane
Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini and Matthias Schoenaerts
The Drop is a twisty film in which some things are not as they initially appear. It delves into the shady world of Chechen mobsters who regularly make money “drops” at Marv’s Bar, a dimly lit dive responsible for holding the dirty money until it can be collected later. Bartender Bob (Tom Hardy) lives a fairly mundane existence, slinging drinks and minding his own business until the bar is held up after a drop. When the Chechens find out about the robbery, they demand that Bob and bar manager Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini, in his final role) retrieve the stolen money. Bob is reluctant, and Cousin Marv has his own axe to grind with the Chechens; he used to own the bar until the mobsters took it over.
The drop gone wrong is merely one storyline of the film. Early in the film, Bob is walking home from work when he hears the muted whimpers of a dog. He finds a pit-bull puppy in the trash with a nasty wound on its head, and his neighbor Nadia (Noomi Rapace) comes outside to investigate the noise. After they clean up the dog, Nadia implores Bob to take the puppy home. The dog accompanies Bob everywhere in the following days, and Nadia and Bob forge a friendship, but low-life Eric (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) emerges to reclaim his dog, and his ex-girlfriend Nadia.
Interestingly enough, the puppy serves as an impetus for the minimal suspense. You are constantly waiting for something bad to happen to the puppy, and to Bob. Unfortunately you find yourself more concerned for the dog’s well being than the actual characters, not exactly a testament to the film’s storyline.
The Drop was written by Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island, Mystic River) and it’s a convoluted mess as a narrative. It really serves better as a study of the characters and the grimy part of Brooklyn they inhabit. Lehane’s stories have fared well with this approach in Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. The Drop is rather tepid by comparison, leading up to a disappointing denouement. Director Michael R. Roksam does capture the drab feel of the neighborhood well, the atmosphere is cold and dreary while the bar is dark and dank.
The real reason to see the film is to see Hardy. Gandolfini is solid as Marv, but the character feels like a pastiche of his previous roles. He won’t be remembered for this character. However, Hardy quietly takes the reins of the film and creates a sympathetic hero who is more complicated than he lets on. The Drop is not a must-see movie, but Hardy fans will be pleased with his performance. — Shannon