Dir: Michael R. Roskam
Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Aronov, and John Ortiz
Synopsis: Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review*
Based on the short story by Dennis Lehane called “Animal Rescue,” The Drop follows Bob Saginowski (Hardy) who is a bartender in a “drop bar” – a bar where local mobsters store their dirty money. The bar was owned by his cousin Marv (Gandolfini, in his final screen appearance and last movie he completed) who was a big deal back in the day until he gave up the bar when Chechen mobsters moved in.
One night Bob is walking home and discovers an injured pit bull puppy (which he ends up calling Rocco) in the trash can and gets help from Nadia (Rapace) to nurse it back to health. Reluctantly, Bob decides to take the pup as his own until local thug Eric Deeds (Schoenaerts) comes back and starts to mess with them. However, Bob has another problem when one night him and Marv get robbed at gunpoint at the bar, and are told by their Chechen contact Chovka (Aronov) to get their money back.
I haven’t read Lehane’s short story but most of us should know his work like Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island; that of course were all adapted into movies. The Drop follows the somewhat same thread in that the movie has some great twists and turns that you may not suspect. But the great thing that director Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead) does is the movie is a constant slow burn and tense that when the final act rolls around you start to look around the screen waiting for something to pop out and surprise you. The great thing next to the acting in The Drop is definitely the way Roskam keeps everything bottled up so when he releases it, you feel like you can finally breathe.
At the same time, the slow pace may turn some people away which is totally understandable. I don’t mind slow pace/slow burn movies if the payoff is completely worth it, which it is here. There are moments where Roskam and Co. could have trimmed down or maybe save for the Blu Ray but it is also these moments that make you question what’s going on and care for these characters.
One of the big things of course surrounding the movie is James Gandolfini, which like I stated earlier, this is the last movie he completed before he passed away. Gandolfini is great here, as always. His portrayal of Marv – or Cousin Marv – is great to see unfold. He mentions that “I was respected. I was feared,” which shows you how far he’s fallen with the local crime scene.
The real focus here in Tom Hardy’s Bob. At first Bob seems a little goofy but a real nice guy. When he gets Rocco for the first time, Nadia tells him that he needs to keep Bob freaks out a little and says he can’t have a dog because it’s too much responsibility, which kind of shows you how much of loner Bob is. But it’s Hardy’s performance that really makes the character pop, especially near the end when his demeanor changes. It really is something to see.
The rest of the supporting cast holds their own here against the great performance of Hardy and Gandolfini. Noomi Rapace plays Nadia, who is slightly similar to her previous characters in that she plays someone with a damaged past. Her relationship with Bob is kind of sweet. They start off a bit standoffish and slowly start to have feelings for each other but Bob being a loner and keeping his emotions in check, he doesn’t get the signs right away. Matthias Schoenaerts’s Eric Deeds is a bit menacing and serves his purpose to the story. John Ortiz plays a detective that questions Bob every chance he can get.
All in all, The Drop is a great film filled with great performances by Hardy, Rapace and the late James Gandolfini. The slow pace/slow burn will probably turn some people away but it’s that pace that makes the final act more powerful.
5 out of 5