Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Drop

Directed by Michael R. Roskam.
2014. Rated R, 106 minutes.
Tom Hardy
James Gandolfini
Noomi Rapace
Matthias Schoenaerts
John Ortiz
Elizabeth Rodriguez
Michael Aronov
Michael Esper
Ann Dowd

Various bars around Brooklyn are owned by gangsters and used as "drop bars." These are where money can be dropped off and picked up by the appropriate low-lifes. One such place is Cousin Marv's. It used to be owned by, not surprisingly, a guy named Marv (Gandolfini). Now, he just runs the place with his buddy Bob (Hardy) while dirty money goes in and out the door. Things are going great until one night, a couple of punks who know too much for their own good decide to rob the joint. Naturally, the Russian mobsters who own the bar want their money back. They're not too particular about who gives it to them, either. This means that if the guys that took it can't be found then it's up to Marv and Bob to replace it. As you might imagine, it's a pretty tense situation. Aside from that, Bob is trying to lead a normal life. He's not what you would call a ladies' man, but he is hopeful of getting with Nadia (Rapace). He's working a shared-dog angle on her after finding a stray and agreeing to help her take care of it. The problem is she's got a crazy ex-boyfriend who not only thinks of her as his, but is known to have killed a local tough guy.

The romance portion of the story provides us with a respite from what can be, at times, a parade of thugs  yelling and swearing at each other. Bob, our hero, is already the most grounded of all the male characters. His budding relationship keeps him that way. While surrounded by loud, boisterous goons, all brimming with machismo, Bob comes across as a nice, unassuming, and calm guy who just happens to be friends with and/or work for some rough people. We know there's more to him than that, but he's generally laid-back about everything. Hardy is to be commended for his performance. Even though his character is the type that's not looking to make a fuss, he plays him as a guy who always seems to know more than he lets on. This helps to make him a compelling watch. His scenes with Noomi Rapace can be downright painful, but in the cute way it is watching a little boy trying to woo a girl before he's actually learned how to woo. He nails to awkward vibe the movie is going for. Rapace does an excellent job during these scenes, as well.

Really, Rapace is good all the time. While not meant to be some tough chick, she gives her character the right amount of bawdiness. Both Hardy and Rapace, non-Americans, deserve some love for their faux-Brooklyn accents. Neither is perfect, but neither comes off as terrible. Of course, the most perfectly cast person of all is the late James Gandolfini. It's a role that plays to his particular strengths. by this point, it feels like type-casting, but he excels at it, nontheless.

When the movie does get back to all the bad guys involved, the story zips along nicely while also ratcheting up the tension all along the way. A piece of information I haven't given away places one of our guys in grave danger, moreso than the other. This aids in the creation of tension. So, too, does the realization that the people driving the plot, the mobsters, are prone to doing some heinous things to those they think have wronged them. This makes the sense of danger palpable. Eventually, it also brings Bob to show his true colors. We must then ask ourselves if he the hero of this story, or not. There's nothing particularly ambiguous about the end, but there might be as far as our feelings are concerned. We have questions we need to mull over. Until then, The Drop is an entertaining flick with excellent performances from Hardy, Gandolfini, and Rapace. The finale nudges it up a notch.

More Films Featuring James Gandolfini


  1. Hardy is such a versatile actor. I totally would buy him as "a nice, unassuming, and calm guy. I think ppl always associate him for being this bad ass macho guy but he's always said he's more of a big softie. There are tons of pics of him w/ the dog from this movie on Tumblr, I'd watch this just for those! :)

    1. I agree with you. He's been amazing in just about everything I've seen him in.

  2. I've just seen this last week and really liked it a lot, thank God the dog was safe :) The twist was very nice and the protagonist turned out to be quite a unique character

    1. He was a very unique character. I quite enjoyed him and Hardy in the role. And yes, that twist was nice.

  3. This sounds like something I might like. It sounds well paced and entertaining with a strong cast.

  4. Good to read, I've been interested in seeing this. Gandolfini was so good, and I like Hardy and Rapace a lot, they're the kind of actors that are draw enough to me, I want to see everything they do.

    1. Check it out. All three of them are excellent.