The Drop

"Excellent"

The Drop Review


A slow-burning intensity sets this crime thriller apart from the crowd, directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael Roskam with a sharp focus on flawed characters who continually surprise each other. It's also a strikingly involving screenplay by Dennis Lehane, an author known for flashier thrillers like Mystic River and Shutter Island (this is his first film script, based on his short story Animal Rescue). All of this pays off with terrific performances from an excellent cast and situations that genuinely shake up the audience, even if it remains moody and subdued right to the end.

It's set in Brooklyn, where bars take turns acting as the mafia drop point for the day's takings. And after Cousin Marv's Bar is robbed on a non-drop day, Chechen gangster Chovka (Michael Aronov) is furious. Even though he has assumed ownership of the bar from Marv (James Gandolfini), Chovka orders him to get the $5,000 back, implying that Marv knows the thieves. So Marv turns to his mild-mannered barman Bob (Tom Hardy) for help. Bob knows how to keep his head down, and as he works on finding the cash, he discovers an abused puppy abandoned in a trash can outside the home of Nadia (Noomi Rapace), who helps him nurse the dog back to health. But the puppy - and Nadia - were both cast aside by the thuggish Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts), who doesn't want to let anything go.

Viewers expecting an action-packed crime thriller might be disappointed by the muted tone of this film, but it's the kind of story that worms its way under the skin, creating complex characters who are constantly revealing new details about themselves as the situation inexorably escalates around them. Hardy is simply superb, layering all kinds of emotions into Bob's actions as he struggles to maintain his composure while everyone around him does something inexplicable. As a result, the film's final act is a sequence of heart-stopping moments that make the most of the witty, nervy and darkly gritty scenes that went before.

Opposite the puppy-like Bob, the late Gandolfini is wonderful, a guy in over his head but never taking things quite as seriously as he knows he should. Rapace brings a marvellously steely vulnerability to Nadia that makes her much more than a love interest, while Schoenaerts (who also starred in Roskam's Oscar-nominated Bullhead) gives his scenes an electrical charge of unpredictability. By avoiding the usual action-movie fireworks, Roskam makes a film that's both suspenseful and startlingly personal. The violence is genuinely upsetting, but it's the small moral decisions these characters make that resonate even louder.

 

Rich Cline



The Drop

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th September 2014

Box Office USA: $10.7M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Chernin Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 135 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael R. Roskam

Producer: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Mike Larocca

Starring: as Bob, as Nadia, as Cousin Marv, as Eric Deeds, as Detective Torres, as Dottie, James Frecheville as Fitz

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