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The Drop – Joint Review


Release Date: 12 September 2014 [USA]
Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Writer: Dennis Lehane [Screenplay & Short Story]
Cast: Tom Hardy - Noomi Rapace - James Gandolfini

Posted November 17, 2014 by

Full Article

The Drop – Joint Review

Anthony Lowery’s Perspective:

Based on the short story by Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island), The Drop is a thrilling crime drama that positions Tom Hardy alongside the late James Gandolfini (in what is to be his final big-screen appearance).

Set in the squalors of Brooklyn, Bob Saginowski (Hardy) runs bar for Uncle Marv (Gandolfini) when he is robbed at gunpoint. The stolen cash belongs to the Chechen mob, characterised here by a couple of clichéd hit men who possess as much bite as the puppy Bob finds in a trashcan.

The Chechens, who use Marv’s beloved drinker as the drop-point for their racket, demand their money; and deficient of Tony Soprano’s cast-iron rule, the once “feared” and “respected” Marv roles over in his Nike tracksuit and leather jacket for the new aggressor in town. The duo, who share exceptional on-screen chemistry, must now source 5K if they hope to keep their bar alive.

A tentative and hunched Hardy may suggest efforts to recreate somebody out of the Brando or Stallone history book, and Bob’s kind and reserved exterior poles apart from the explosiveness of Bronson or Bane. But do not be fooled. Here is a wolf in sheep’s clothing perpetually coiled for action likely to spring in the form of a lethal panther as opposed to the spineless lapdog he pretends to be.

A shy relationship with Nadia (Noomi Rapace) soon happens for Bob, but is greeted by ominous visits from ex-boyfriend and psych patient Eric; an ever-intensifying friction that guarantees violence.

With a simmering narrative that affords humour without sacrificing the integrity of its thriller components, this 70’s flavoured slice of melancholy fuses European conventions with traits of American crime flicks. The ambience is edgy, the dialogue witty, delivered deadpan with strong performances aplenty. A slow burn – but a burn nonetheless.

Written by:

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Anthony Lowery
Freelance Contributor


Theo Tessa’s Perspective:

Michaël Roskam, as unexperienced as he is, was blessed to be the last director lucky enough to work with James Gandolfini. It feels always weird to watch a movie, knowing one of the actor died just a year ago. And man, James Gandolfini (‘The Sopranos’, ‘8MM’, ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’) was a monument on his own, so, somehow, I had to watch the movie, to “say goodbye”.

The Drop’ is inspired and adapted by the novel “Animal Rescue” written by Denis Lehane, who also wrote scripts such as ‘Shutter Island”, “Gone Baby Gone”, “Mystic River” : it is what you call a pretty eloquent resume. Here again, we are dragged down in the ordinary life of an unordinary bartender, Bob (Tom Hardy, “The Dark Knight rises”, “RocknRolla”, “Bronson”, “Inception”). The bar where he’s working used to belong to his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), who had to give it away to the Chechen mafia because of gambling debts : Chovka (Michael Aronov) enjoys to come to the bar reminding Marv that he doesn’t own anything anymore, and that all the money that comes through the bar goes straight in the mob’s pocket.

Bob attends to the 8AM mass, goes to work, comes home, and so every day. One day, on his way to work, he discover a beaten puppy in a trash can. With the help of Nadia (Noomi Rapace, The “Millenium” trilogy, “Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows”, “Prometheus”), he manage to take care of the dog and welcomes him in his house. But Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts, “Bullhead”, “Blood Ties”, “Black Book”), the owner of the dog, known in the area for his violent history (including the killing of a guy Bob knew a few years ago), wants his dog back…

Bad luck for Bob and Marv, the bar gets robbed by some thugs : even if it is only five thousand dollars, Chovka wants his money back. He also wants Marv up and ready for the next night for which the bar will be a drop place : all the dirty money from the area will be collected at this place before being processed. It is in this atmosphere that Bob struggles, between the pervasive presence of Eric and the pressure imposed by the mafia.

The main flaw of the movie is the rhythm : it is very slow, even during the stressed out sequences. Despite of which, you can only be caught in this gloomy ambiance, where every character is not what it appears to be. The performance of James Gandolfini is has high as I hoped, the story is basic yet completely unpredictable, like Denis Lehane gets us used to, with a handful of very talented actors.

It’s like this cop says at the end : “They don’t see you coming, do they Bob ?”. No one sees Tom Hardy coming… His carrer realy began with Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Bronson”, that I highly recommend to any of you who haven’t seen it yet, just for the sake of witnessing Tom Hardy’s talent.

‘The Drop’ is clearly for you if you enjoy bleak stories, if you think that James Gandolfini left us too early, and if you want once again to be surprised with a movie. At least I was…

Written By:

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Theo Tessa
Freelance Contributor


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