Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) 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.
Review by Louise Keller:
I have seen him in more than a dozen films, but it wasn't until Locke (2013) that I sat up and really took notice of Tom Hardy. Sure we noticed him as Eames in Christopher Nolan's Inception (2012) and as Bane, the muscly, mumbling villain in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), but then Locke came along. In Locke, Hardy plays a man whose entire life changes as he drives his BMW along the freeway, talking on the phone all the while.
In The Drop, Hardy is even more of a revelation playing the quietly spoken Bob, who tends bar and waits on customers in a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood. Hardy's performance is sublime, making every action and word of dialogue meaningful.
It's a mob-ruled neighbourhood where a lot of money changes hands. That's The Drop. Black money - for the Chechen crime boss. Bob is tough but he is also gentle. He unflinchingly wraps a severed, bloodied arm in gladwrap before carefully disposing of it but has to think twice about assuming the responsibility of adopting a wounded puppy he rescues from a garbage bin.
In his last role, James Gandolfini's Marv says 'Don't underestimate Bob' - of his cousin. Marv runs the bar he used to own - before the mob took over. Gandolfini depicts the essence of a defeated man, whose life's problems have pelted him with bullets of despair. The despair arises from all aspects of his life - business and personal. It's a fitting farewell.
Then there is Noomi Rapace, who plays Nadia, the girl with a history of self-harm and a violent ex-boyfriend. The way Bob tells her 'Everybody has a past,' puts many things into context. It is in Nadia's garbage bin that Bob finds the abused pit bull puppy, which he calls Rocco - after a 13th century saint, whose statue stands at the church he frequents, but never takes communion. There are many interesting juxtapositions and paradoxes. Rapace is terrific: credible, interesting, vulnerable. She and Hardy are great together.
There are a handful of undesirable characters including Matthias Schoenaerts as convicted murderer Eric Deeds, who has connections to both Nadia and Rocco and a habit of appearing without invitation. The final showdown between Bob and Eric does not disappoint; it's the night of the Superbowl, The Drop is about to take place, Marv is at home sick, Bob is at the bar alone, Rocco and Nadia are at risk. All hell breaks loose. John Ortiz is excellent as the ever-present detective searching for evidence ... for everything.
Dennis Lehane's short story Animal Shelter, which he has adapted for the screen, may not have the scale of his previous novels Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island, but the elements are powerful, the action engaging. Michael R. Roskam's direction is spot on and with Hardy in every scene, the film is mesmerising.
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DROP, THE (MA15+)
CAST: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aranov, Morgan Spector, Michael Esper, Ross Bickell, James Frecheville
PRODUCER: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Mike Larocca
DIRECTOR: Michael R. Roskam
SCRIPT: Dennis Lehane (short story Animal Rescue by Lehane)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nicolas Karakatsanis
EDITOR: Christopher Tellefsen
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami, Raf Keunen
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Thˇr¸se DePrez
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 13, 2014