Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Drop (2014)

Director: Michael R. Roskam
Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aronov, Morgan Spector, Michael Esper, Ross Bickell, James Frecheville, Tobias Segal, Patricia Squire, Ann Dowd

Bob Saginowski (Hardy) works in his cousin Marv's (Gandolfini) Brooklyn bar. He's no ordinary bartender, dealing with money drops from mobsters while keeping well removed from the community around him. One night, he discovers an abused pit bull in the garbage bin of Nadia (Rapace) and she offers to help him take care of it. Several days later, Bob and Marv are robbed by two masked gunmen taking the money that belongs to Chechen mobsters. These two events coincide with a greater secret from all parties involved.

Adapted from novelist Dennis Lehane's short story Animal Rescue, by Lehane himself, whose novels have also been adapted into acclaimed films Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island, the film is more about a man afraid of relationships and the influence relationships and loyalty hold over people. Hardy is an absolute revelation and the true centrepiece for this film; he's also becoming one of the best actors around.

Gandolfini is in fine form in his final acting role; he died of a heart attack shortly before the films release. Rapace has carved out a wonderful career, though her accent needs a little more convincing, while Schoenaerts, who starred in Roskam's previous film Bullhead, brings a great deal of depth as Rapace's ex-boyfriend, a role that could have been buried. Great workmanship all around and a heavy atmosphere is slightly ruined by a final unnecessary scene. It's not a gangster movie in the Hollywood tradition and it's realistic elements are pure.


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