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The Drop is a dark, brooding crime film starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini. Directed by Mikaël Roskam, this film focuses on Bob, a low level shy bartender at Cousin Marv's. The bar is a "drop bar" in which the mob's money gets laundered there. While this does sound like the story to The Drop, it isn't. The film is much more a character study first about Bob and his back story. What this film does beautifully is show the progression of the story strictly through casual dialog, explaining why Bob is the way he is. Our first clue to Bob's back story is a subtle hint as he attends church and does not accept the communion offering. A recurring theme throughout the film is the idea of how a sin can weigh your conscious down. Some of this is heavy handed and others are very subtle and mostly through something as small as a glare from Tom Hardy or a sigh from James Gandolfini. Quite frankly, without these amazing performances from everyone across the board, this film would more than likely sink after the first 30 minutes. The entire cast from Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Repace, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, they are all in top form here. There is not one hollow or fake performance, they are all pitch perfect and really pull together to mend the story and progress it very well. The real stand out is Tom Hardy though, who continuously keeps turning in really well, thoughtful and master class performances, The Drop is no exception. Gandolfini also gives a fitting final performance here and knocks it out of the park. Watching him on the screen is rather haunting in a bittersweet way. Roskam seems to rely heavily on letting his actors work without every manipulating a scene with high tech camera work or any camera movement at all. This is a straight forward film filled with actual characters that feel alive and feel vulnerable and at any moment their life could end in this world that Roskam creates. This isn't the hipster Brooklyn that Brooklyn has seemingly become lately, this is Roskam's Brooklyn and its a cold land without any glorification. The screenplay by Dennis Lehane is top notch, establishing plot points by sprinkling them across the entire film before finally concluding in a twisted but necessarily dark ending that ties everything together. While this does work for the most part, it does feel a bit muddled in second act as if the story is in some sort of limbo, but it quickly gets back on track in no time. The film does have its lighter moments within dialog and scenes with Rocco the pitbull puppy, but for the most part this a really dark film with an equally gritty scenery. Overall, The Drop is a tense and gritty crime film with an amazing cast that doesn't miss a beat. I highly recommend it.
I felt compelled to write this review because I was fortunate enough to
see this movie at an advance screening, and because I do not think the
movie will be around long.
The reason I think it will not be around long is because this movie is for adults. It is character driven with a well written storyline. It does not have anything that would appeal to most movie goers....no car chases, moronic humor, or gratuitous sex. The Drop starts slow, but you have to pay attention to what goes on in the movie, and what the characters both do and say. It picks up speed and intensity, and is well worth your time.
The storyline is a very interesting underworld crime caper, but it is very nuanced, with excellent acting by all the leads. I was only familiar with the late James Gandolfini, and he does not disappoint, and the other actors, although unknown to me were also outstanding.
"I just tend the bar," Bob Saginowski innocently states in this under-
the-radar gem of a film. Tom Hardy plays Bob, a quiet, reserved
bartender at his cousin Marv's bar. Cousin Marv is played by James
Gandolfini in his final role. The Drop is getting a lot of attention
because of Gandolfini, who gives another memorable performance, but The
Drop is much more than an opportunity to see one our generation's
greatest actors one last time, it's one of the best films of the year.
In The Drop, Marv owns a local neighborhood bar that also happens to be a "drop bar", which means the bar essentially collects money from illegal betting and god knows what else and then delivers it to the local Chechen gang. Gandolfini plays Marv as a Tony Soprano that never was. A guy that tried to get into the game, but couldn't really cut it when the big guys came into town. Those "big guys" are the Chechen mob that have taken over Marv's bar. It's his bar in name only and he's relegated to serving drinks and cleaning up spills. Gandolfini plays Marv as a bitter, beaten down man. It's vintage Gandolfini and a perfect way to end a career that was cut way too short.
As one actor takes his final bow, it's another actor who officially arrives. The Drop is clearly Tom Hardy's film. Granted, Hardy certainly hasn't come out of no where. He burst on the mainstream scene with Inception and should have become a household name after his performance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. He didn't, and I'm not really sure why. He seemingly has everything you'd want in a leading man.
Hardy's performance in The Drop should finally change that. I know it's early, but it's Oscar worthy. Hardy plays Bob with such an authentic nature that it's downright astounding. He really inhabits this character. Bob seems to take everything in stride, nothing seems to bother him. When he is confronted by the Chechen mobsters, he keeps his head down and chooses every word with precision, knowing that his life depends on it. Bob is non-threatening and unassuming and almost comes off as simple-minded, but as the film progresses, it's clear something is brewing beneath the surface. Bob is an example of a guy who is a product of his environment. He's a good man that doesn't really have a choice in life. He either adapts to survive or dies.
Bob also has a big heart as is evidenced when he rescues a puppy that has been beaten and literally thrown in the trash. This is where he meets Nadia, played by Noomi Rapace (Prometheus). Nadia is also reserved and seems wounded in some way. It makes sense that The Drop is written by Dennis Lahane (writer of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island) who adapted the film from his short story "Animal Rescue," a title with more than one meaning. Not only does Bob rescue an injured dog, but both he and Nadia seem like animals that need rescuing in one way or another.
The Drop is the kind of film that Hollywood just doesn't make anymore. It really does feel like it was ripped right out of the 80's. It has a slow, deliberate pace that perfectly builds suspense. The Drop is a character driven film that constructs each scene with great dialogue and fantastic acting. The director allows his characters to inhabit the world they live in. It's the wardrobe and the set design that really help bring everything together and add to the authenticity of the film. Everything seems organic and not like it's part of a movie set.
The Drop is a film lovers film. It has everything you could possibly ask for: a top notch cast, great direction, dialogue, set design, cinematography, and an understated score. You name it, and The Drop has it. It's easily one of my favorite films of the year. We need more films like The Drop. Go see it.
There are a lot of films that fall into the same sort of "ilk" in the
sense that when we watch a particular movie, it gives us the same feel
as others we have seen before it. This can be a reason why someone
really enjoys it or gives the pretentious "it wasn't very original"
remark that makes you never watch a movie with that fool again. "The
Drop" brings out similar feelings, primarily because it has the feel of
many other works of the author (and writer of the script) Dennis Lehane
who is famous for works such as "Mystic River", "Shutter Island", and
"Gone Baby Gone". Right away you get a feel for those previous works as
we are again introduced to a gritty, seedy, and corrupt underbelly of a
big city environment that introduces us to a bunch of low lifes who are
caught up in doing the wrong things just to "make something of
What makes "The Drop" different from some of these other films is that these are different characters compared to what we're used to. No one seems to be a big talker and we can tell that all of these characters are more than meets the eye and carry significant baggage from a checkered past. Most films that deal organized crime and other things ask us to witness the violence that just seems to "come with the territory" so to speak with it. This film asks us instead to imagine the potential for violence in a man and how brief releases of that violence can affect how these characters live their lives in the future. There are moments of violence and bloodshed, but they come in such short and intense instances that they hit you harder then violence might normally would in another film of this sort. You believe that any of these characters is capable of beating another ones head in and when something of that sort actually happens, it sticks with you and has a lasting effect that carries throughout the remainder of the film.
The story follows Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) and his Cousin Marv (the last film of the late James Gandolfini) who run what's known as a drop bar which simply mean that they serve as a place where mobsters leave large amounts of illegal money to pick up at a later date. Cousin Marv used to be a man of his own power in the organized crime world and briefly had his own crew before he was pushed aside by an incoming Chechen gang and now he just manages the bar with Bob. 10 years has passed sense this change but Marv is still as bitter as ever about his position in life. Gandolfini excels in roles like this for so many reasons. Of course we see a little Tony Soprano in Cousin Marv but he brings so much else to this role from his tone of voice, expression with his eyes, and physical presence that makes the performance that much more captivating. It's great to watch him be able to display that intimidation factor as the "tough guy" that Marv wants to be seen as, as well as the fear and weakness that really exists in his heart.....all being shown through his eyes. It's the kind of performance that has a low-key profoundness that makes you hope the academy rewards a posthumous Oscar nomination.
Hardy is no less brilliant here as the quiet and mysterious Bob. Bob is not a big talker and just lives quietly in his own little bubble tending bar and handling the drop. His life is changed when he finds a wounded puppy in the trash can outside of the damaged Nadiya's (Noomi Rapace) house. They both decide to take care of the dog together as a potential budding romance threatens to grow. Bob has almost an instant connection with the dog, a young pitbull, and you begin to notice similarities between the two as the film progresses. Bob makes a comment that a pitbull is a "dangerous dog" which is true, but almost seems impossible to think when you see them as puppies. Bob can be looked at the same way as the puppy in the sense of he seems harmless but there is the potential for danger and violence deep inside both of them. I've always found it amazing how well British actors can master American accents compared to the other way around. Hardy especially is a master of accents and the way he handles his blue collar, Brooklyn speak is amazing to watch as we follow the mysterious Bob throughout the film, always wondering what he is thinking and what he really is about.
The other stand out performance in the film comes from Matthias Shoenaerts as the loose cannon, Eric Deeds. Shoenaerts brings a level of intensity that is so palpable that you often become uneasy when he is on screen. He spends the majority of the film claiming that Bob's new dog is his and that he wants him back, as we all are questioning what he is really after. Shoenaerts is a rising star for sure and I can't wait to see him continue to show what he's capable of a bigger stage.
In the end, "The Drop" is most likely going to be one of those early fall gems that falls by the wayside after a few weeks in theaters and is unfortunately forgotten about due to poor marketing. However, it also could be one of those small festival films that develops a cult following after people realize how good it is for being a slightly slower paced thriller that delivers great performances and a good story. In a way, that almost fits perfectly into the makeup of these characters who live in this world. Great and powerful things in small and low-key packages
'THE DROP': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Crime-thriller about a bartender who finds himself in trouble, with dangerous criminals, when the bar he works at, which is a 'money drop' for local gangsters, is robbed. It's based on the short story 'Animal Rescue' by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote such popular novels, turned movies, as 'MYSTIC RIVER', 'GONE BABY GONE' and 'SHUTTER ISLAND'). Lehane also wrote the screenplay and Michaël R. Roskam directed the movie. The film stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz, Matthias Schoenaerts (who also starred in Roskam's 2011 crime-drama flick 'BULLHEAD') and James Gandolfini (in his last film role). I found the movie to be really dark but extremely involving and suspenseful, at times, as well.
Hardy plays Bob Saginowski; a Brooklyn bartender who works for his cousin Marv (Gandolfini) at a local tavern. The bar is involved in a money laundering scheme, run by local gangsters, and used as a 'money drop' for funneling dirty cash. When it's robbed, apparently by small time crooks, Bob and Marv find themselves under a lot of pressure (from the crime bosses) to find out who did it. At the same time Bob rescues a dog, that was beaten and left for dead in someone's trash can, and starts a relationship with the woman, Nadia (Rapace), who helps him. A detective (Ortiz), who goes to the same (closing) catholic church as Bob, is investigating the robbery.
The movie, like everything based on Dennis Lehane's writings, is pretty dark. Hardy is outstanding once again; he's arguably the most talented male actor in film today. He's also the relatable heart of the film but even his character has a dark twist. All of the performances are good though and it's nice to see Gandolfini doing what he does best, one last time, as well. The directing is superb and the screenplay is, of course, brilliant. I think the movie is exactly what most viewers are expecting it to be, that are familiar with Lehane's work, and Hardy makes it even that much more memorable and classic!
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Holy Moly, I see people talking about no one in the theater for this and I know why, no trailers no advertising at all. I look everything up before I go, as soon as I saw IMDb reviews and Gandolfini I knew I was in. It's a dark twisty movie with equally dark and twisty characters. There were gangsters and good guys and bad guys. However they are anything BUT cookie cutter, run of the mill, you have seen this all before good guys and bad guys. There are explanations' you see how some of them end up the way they do, its not black and white. Crazy outwardly isn't the most crazy in the room. The most violent characters can also be some of the most kind. There is no typical in this film. It draws you in and never lets you go. Keeps you guessing till the end.
This is best movie I have seen this year so far. There I said it. I go
see about 30-40 movies per year on average and this is the best one in
2014. Now that that is out of the way, here is why.
The movie is so solid through out, the acting is stellar and it builds tension to a very satisfying ending. This was also written by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island) so you know it has to be good right? Right.
It reminds me a little of "A History of Violence" in that it builds the tension very nicely and you know that some where down the line violence is going to happen, but when, how and why?
I am really sad that James Gandolfini is no longer with us, he is such a presence in the film. Tom Hardy is the best actor I can think of in today's era, I just buy into anything he is selling, he simmers here.
After a summer of mindless action flicks, go see something with some meat, great performances and a great screenplay. This is a very good drama, well worth your $12.00.
Woke up this morning thinking about it like a memory that was real.
Sometimes I see one of these back east movies where the location is
perfect, and the characters are perfect, and it haunts me like a past
life. It's not about the story, though this one was great, it's the
look and feel of time, place, and people. Whew.
Any more said would spoil this movie.
.Don't let anyone spoil it for you. Go in blind. Don't let anyone spoil it for you. Go in blind. Don't let anyone spoil it for you. Go in blind. Don't let anyone spoil it for you. Go in blind. Don't let anyone spoil it for you. Go in blind.
If you're into crime movies and dialogue-based movies with a firm stir of action, go watch this. But don't forget: what you see is what you get. If you don't like the atmosphere of the trailer, you won't like the movie. If you do, don't hesitate. Loved Bullhead of Roskam as well, but it's a total different genre of movie, although it'a also an intense crime-picture. I think this is a film that concentrates a lot of fresh Hollywood-talent, with a great amount of quality. We should definitely keep an eye on Hardy, Schoenaerts, Naomie. And of course, if you like Gandolfini/The Sopranos, you shouldn't even be reading this because it was his last movie and he's great in it!
Michael R. Roskam burst onto the scene a few years back with "Bullhead"
which was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign
In his first English language, American film, Roskam works with a script by the great author Dennis Lehane to tell the story of Brooklyn bartender Bob, waitress Nadia, has-been Cousin Marv, and the mysterious Eric Deeds.
The plot of "The Drop" has been done before to various degrees, and Lehane's script was surprisingly predictable. Although the material wasn't particularly fresh, the actors and a few strong scenes make it worthwhile.
Hardy, although a bit inconsistent, delivers a quietly great performance. You just want to give the guy a hug. Gandolfini is unsurprisingly fantastic in his final big screen performance. He plays to perfection a middle aged has-been that's ticked off with what his life has become. The direction they took with his character was predictable and left me very disappointed, but I'm happy that his last performance was this good. Noomi Rapace arguably gave the best performance in the film, and probably the best supporting actress I've seen so far this year. She does a great job playing a damaged woman trying to lead a good life, and her scenes with Hardy (and the dog!) are some of the best of the movie. Schoenaerts (who was sensational in Roskam's Bullhead) is good, but not given too much to do with a one-dimensional character. And the dog! Rocco! One of the all-time great dog performances in my opinion.
The movie is also really funny at times (mainly Gandolfini in the first half hour and Hardy with the dog). It drags a bit at times, and like I said above the script could have been a lot better.... but it's still a very good movie that easily could have been a great one with a few changes. I'll still see it again, and I'm sure it will stay in my top 10 of the year.
And as a huge fan of James Gandolfini, I'm sad to say this is the last time we'll ever see him on the big screen. But I'm happy that Roskam did him justice with one last great performance. RIP to one of the all-time greats.
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