The Drop is directed by Michael R. Roskam whose only previous full length film, Bullhead (2011), was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The screenplay was written by Dennis Lehane who adapted his own short story Animal Rescue. This is not the first Lehane novel /story to make it to the big screen. Other titles have included Mystic River (2003), Gone Baby Gone (2007) and Shutter Island (2010).
The film centres on a Brooklyn Bar called Cousin Marv’s and its bar tender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy). The bar plays its part as a drop off point for the cash of local criminals to be picked up at a later date. During the course of the film Bob strikes up a relationship with a local waitress called Nadia (Noomi Rapace) over a dog he finds dumped in one of her trash cans. A hold up at the bar changes everything as it sets in motion a series of events that will unveil Bob’s real character.
The poster that begins this review is very apt as it clearly identifies the strengths of the film i.e. the three leads. Tom Hardy delivers yet another convincing character to add to his ever growing menagerie of transformations. While I’m no local of Brooklyn his accent seemed faultless throughout and the most amazing thing was that he managed to create a sense of uncertainty around his character’s motivations. While it wasn’t a big stretch for James Gandolfini (Cousin Marv) he is assured as the one-time local gangster. Rapace gives a somewhat haunting performance as the damaged local waitress who clearly distrusts men as the film plays out you’ll soon find out why. Not entirely sure which country she’s from but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
The other strength of the movie is the air of mistrust it builds as even though Bob and Nadia are set up as the protagonists I was never sure they were the true heroes of the piece. The choice of locations lends a sense of authenticity is it remains an enclosed film – there are none of the wide shots you might expect to see to show you’re in New York.
The film has its problems. The main one is how unremarkable it is. It’s a good film with some kinda interesting characters but it lacks a wow factor such as an unforeseen twist or out-there supporting character. The Chechen gangsters are from the moustache twirling school of villainy so its a relief they are rarely in the film. The puppy dog motif did little to add to the story beyond act as a device to bring Bob and Nadia together.
All in all a solid three star type of film that I would recommend as a strong second choice film once you’ve seen the movie you’ve been really looking forward to. Tom Hardy delivers yet again despite pretty lean material.