Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz
Run Time: 106 minues
Michael R. Roskam, best known for BULLHEAD, directs Dennis Lehane’s THE DROP and presents us with a finely paced crime-drama that’s wrapped up with tempestuous grittiness. Lehane wrote the screenplay for his own short story ‘Animal Rescue’ and is the man behind GONE BABY GONE and SHUTTER ISLAND, so you know you’ll get deep inside the characters.
Intensely brooding, Hardy plays New York bartender Bob, a simple and lonely guy who’s family runs the establishment that occasionally doubles up for a ‘drop’ bar, which means that sometimes it’s part of a circuit that exchanges money and nobody asks questions.
One day, when walking home from his job, he hears the whimpers of a dog and discovers a Pit-bull puppy in some bins, covered in blood. Picking the dog up, he meets Noomi Rapace’s Nadia, as it’s outside her house and she helps clean up the bloody pup and thus their relationship begins. The canine is a centre point of focus for Bob because although he hasn’t had a pet before and doesn’t really know what to do, he’s good to enough to take the animal on and give it a home. When mentally unstable Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) turns up unexpectedly at his house saying the dog is his and he wants money for it, Bob appears to start linking things together from people he knows in his life.
THE DROP isn’t just about the dog though as that’s a sub-level of story alongside the late James Gandolfini’s Marv, who is struggling to dig his way of the darkness, unbeknown to Bob. Marv doesn’t own his bar anymore and sets up a robbery that doesn’t quite work out as his planned. From this early point, the underlying plot begins to unravel, as Marv gets more desperate and can no longer control the things he once did.
Throughout the majority of THE DROP, Hardy’s character is a regular guy, working hard and getting on with his life in harsh times. He’s usually looking down or away from things but when Eric threatens to kill his dog, his eyes alter and you see an amazing shift in the character that just wasn’t recognisable before. Bob’s eyes stare right through Eric that suggests ‘Don’t mess with me…’ but it’s so subtle Eric still thinks he’s in control.
As the film hits the final third, we’re into role reversal as Marv loses his mind and Bob starts to take over psychologically but – as I say often – without revealing the full narrative, this is why you’ll need to pick it up and watch the film for yourself. There’s an astonishingly strong cast here with Tom Hardy mixing up his LOCKE and WARRIOR characters, the latter reflected in the boiling rage underneath the composure, THE DROP is solid story telling. The co-starring cast of Rapace, Gandolfini, Schoenaerts and also the continually versatile John Ortiz are all vital to the progression and give everything.
I always believe the lasting mark of a high-quality movie is how much you feel the mood, setting and characters after it has finished and THE DROP embeds that sensation with tenacious self-confidence.
[usr=4] THE DROP is released on Blu-ray and DVD today.
Order here and check out the opening introduction: