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.
Continue reading: The Drop Review
Bob Saginowski works behind the bar at Cousin Marv's in Brooklyn - an establishment often referred to by local criminals as a 'drop bar'. It's where all the money in the town, acquired by illicit means, is dropped off and kept safe from rival gangs and authorities. However, Cousin Marv's turns out to be less safe than they thought when two masked armed robbers break in while Bob and Marv are cashing up and demand all the money. Despite Marv's warnings about who they are really stealing from, the thieves leave with their loot and Marv and Bob find themselves in a sticky situation when one mean crime boss wants it back. Getting involved in circumstances like this is the last thing these guys want and Marv starts to wish he was as well-respected as he used to be. After a vicious killing occurs, the stakes get higher. Will the duo manage to win back the mob's money? And what's the significance of a lost pitbull puppy?
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