The Drop

2014-11-14 10:30
What's it about:

Lonely bartender Bob Saginowski is involved in a covert scheme funneling cash to local gangsters — “money drops” — in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin, Marv, Bob finds himself in the centre of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighbourhood’s past, where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living, no matter the cost.

What we thought:

From the writer of Shutter Island and Mystic River, comes a crime drama that at first seems a bit too simplistic in its plot, but ends up whipping out a finely crafted script and characters with more layers than Inception. Ironically, The Drop’s tension doesn’t come from whether or not the barmen can find the gangsters’ money, but from your constant fear that something horrible is going to happen to the cutest dog you have ever seen on the big screen.

At first glance, Bob (Tom Hardy) seems like a low-IQ ex-muscle man (even his name is nondescript) who spends his days working at his cousin’s bar, which is owned by some Chechen gangsters and sometimes used as a Drop for illicit money. After Bobs finds the most adorable pit-bull puppy ever and the bar gets robbed at gunpoint, you start to realise the calculated intensity that almost everyone underestimates, especially when his dog gets threatened. These layers would have been a challenge for most actors, but Tom Hardy’s subtle acting pulled it off to a T and the audience ends up falling in love with such a coarse character.

Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) on the other hand is a slime ball obsessed with the past and it just attest to the loved legend’s ability to turn himself into a detestable character. But do not expect the same type of character as his Soprano alter ego. Although almost everyone in the film is a villain – one has to be to survive in a bad city neighbourhood of Brooklyn – Marv is just beaten out by Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) as the most detestable, purely because he threatens Bob’s ridiculously aww-inducing pup.

I am certain the choice of breed is deliberate, as pit-bulls are portrayed as bad dogs, which is Bob’s first reaction when he is told Rocco is a pit-bull, but the director managed to find one that crawls into your heart and gets comfy, almost outshining Gandolfini and Hardy. Easily, the pup is a parable for Bob himself, and how wrong people’s perception of him is. He seems to be a harmless airhead, but he knows better than anyone how to survive, and protects those few who are meaningful to him.

Another important facet in Bob’s grimy world – courtesy of a great director – is the woman attached to the dog when he found it in a trashcan (they start with the doggie heartjerkers early on) played by Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish version) actress Noomi Rapace. Like Bob, she is also trying to survive and move away from her broken past and teaches Bob the compassion that ends up driving him. Their growing relationship is realistic in the sense that it is a slow development, getting to know each other, falling out and she even ends up being afraid of him. All done without them jumping into the sack with each other at the first chance, which would have seriously harmed the characterisation of Bob.

With terrific dialogue and electric chemistry between Gandolfini and Hardy, this film is definitely for acting connoisseurs who like the finer art in filmmaking, especially crime films, rather than guns blazing and bones being fed to pigs. Although Gandolfini’s star has passed, Hardy’s will still grow brighter and brighter and I can’t wait to see what next he pulls out.
Read more on:    tom hardy  |  noomi rapace  |  james gandolfini  |  movies

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