The Drop: Pay a Visit—Movie

“No one ever sees you coming, do they?” is asked near the conclusion of “The Drop.” Truer words were never spoken, both in terms of the character to whom this remark is addressed and the movie itself. Directed by Michaël R. Roskam, with screenplay by Dennis Lehane based on his short story, “Animal Rescue,” “The Drop” takes its time getting started, but gradually picks up steam, packing a wallop at the end.

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Set in the non-tony section of Brooklyn, “The Drop” centers on the goings-on at Cousin Marvin’s, a neighborhood bar. Formerly owned outright by Marvin (James Gandolfini), his bar is now “owned” by the Chechens and serves as a drop bar for money laundering. Marvin “fronts” the bar and his nephew, Bob (Tom Hardy), serves as bartender. One night as Bob is making his way home, he hears the barking of a puppy. To his shock, the barks are coming from inside a garbage can in front of a house. As Bob picks up the discarded dog, you think to yourself, “Oh, no, I don’t think this will bode well.” Well, you are half right. The puppy does bring some shady characters into Bob’s life, but the same dog makes it possible for him to meet Nadia (Noomi Rapace), to whom the garbage can belongs. The two agree to take care of the puppy together. As they continue to bond over the dog, a hesitant romance comes into the picture. Nadia is not complication-free, however. She has a former boyfriend, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts), not necessarily pleased about being “former,”  and who begins making menacing appearances in Bob ‘s and Marvin’s lives. We see that Marvin is not at all happy with the turn his fortunes have taken. More than anything else, he wants to be respected and as we discover, will go to almost any length to make that happen. Once a proud bar owner, he’s now reduced to taking money for and orders from mobsters. He lives with his well-meaning, but annoying sister, Dottie (Ann Dowd). His life is made even further problematic by the urgent need for money in order to keep his ailing, elderly father on-life support. A missing person, a robbery gone bad and a continuing investigation by a detective (John Ortiz) who attends the same church as Bob—all come together to push Marvin and Bob into making some life-altering decisions.

“The Drop’s” cast is absolutely wonderful, but Tom Hardy is the film’s real standout. His performance is very low-key, but his tone is pitch-perfect. Shy, sly and forceful when his character has to be, he does it all masterfully. His Brooklyn accent might be a little too thick, but even that works within the film. James Gandolfini, in his final film appearance, is terrific as Marvin. He makes you feel the rage underneath Marvin’s seemingly calm exterior. Noomi Rapace is very good as the immigrant trying to make a better life for herself and having a hard time accomplishing just that. Finally, Matthias Schoenaerts’ Deeds makes for one of best-looking creeps the screen has seen in a while.

Much of “The Drop” takes place in the evening and that just adds to the film’s murkiness. “The Drop” is a movie that  grips you slowly, but once it’s done, you realize how strong that grip was. It’s a sad, but excellent way for James Gandolfini to leave us, but thankfully we will have both his and Tom Hardy’s performances to remember always.

3 ½ nuggets out of 4

 

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2 Responses to “The Drop: Pay a Visit—Movie”

  1. thycriticman Says:

    How eerie was that final scene that features James? That is perhaps the most memorable scene from any movie this year…simply because of what happens in real-life shortly afterwards.

    Anyways, I liked this a ton too. Hardy is one of the best of this generation.

    Like

    • Joan Fuchsman Says:

      That was so good, I agree. His last few films were simply terrific. And after seeing Locke and The Drop, I really have a much larger appreciation for Hardy. Both roles were so different from one another and he was great in both.

      Liked by 1 person

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