The Drop – Movie Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Michaël R. Roskam
Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aronov, Morgan Spector
In cinemas November 14th
This marks the last big screen appearance of the late James Gandolfini who died shortly after filming was completed. A crime drama that sees him playing, fittingly, a shady character with ties to gangsters; this is a lovely testament to the man and his talent. There are no shortage of movies of this type but lovely dialogue, a clever script and some impressive performances make this stand out from the crowd. Gandolfini plays Marv who runs a Brooklyn Bar. The venue is often used as a drop bar – a place where criminals subtly move cash – which Marv turns a blind eye to since he lost control of the place to gangsters some years previously. His quiet and innocuous cousin Bob (Hardy) works alongside him and the pair often clash about bar policy. When they are robbed at gunpoint one night as they close up they lose thousands of dollars of mob money which they must retrieve. It also puts the bar and its shenanigans on the police radar although both men are careful about what they say. Bob’s situation is further complicated when he finds a badly beaten pit bull and takes him in. A small time hood named Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) starts to pressurise him saying that he is the dogs owner and he claims responsibility for a famous local murder to further intimidate him. Marv has his own problems as he struggles with debts and the frustration of losing his bar all those years ago. As Marv becomes increasingly paranoid Bob tries to reason with Deeds but both men are already on an inevitable journey that won’t end well for anyone involved.
It is difficult to write about this without giving too much away as there are numerous twists and turns. While there are a couple of things that you see coming on the whole they are a surprise and there are many OMG moments. Hardy and Gandolfini work fantastically together and both give amazing performances. Much of the movie hinges on their relationship and you never get bored watching them. They are beautifully understated in their roles, which only adds to the impact of their actions as the movie progresses. The entire supporting cast are excellent and Rocco the dog will melt your heart.
Of course in a movie of this genre it is almost impossible to avoid clichés and this is no exception. The gangster types are all a bit one dimensional and the cop roles could have been taken directly from Cops by Numbers. Thankfully it doesn’t detract too much from the story which is sweet and brutal in equal measure. The plot is never overly complicated but it is extremely effective and you really have to pay attention to ensure you don’t miss anything.
A fitting tribute to Gandolfini and a tour de force by Hardy this is an enthralling couple of hours viewing that keeps you engaged from the first frame to the last and leaves you wondering what happens to the characters after the cameras stopped rolling which is what good drama should do.