For such a deeply American story, written by that chronicler of blue-collar New England life Dennis Lehane, the new crime thriller 'The Drop' boasts a strikingly foreign pedigree. Which probably explains why it has surprised many American critics with its distinctly European arthouse tone. In Time Magazine, Richard Corliss writes, "You have to sit through the slow parts to savour the cool parts."

James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy in 'The Drop'
Tom Hardy stars in the final film to feature the late James Gandolfini

The film is directed by Michael Roskam, the Belgian filmmaker whose tough drama 'Bullhead' was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar in 2012. For 'The Drop' he reteams with that film's lead actor, fellow Belgian Matthias Shoenaerts, who after 'Bullhead' garnered acclaim in two films co-starring Marion Cotillard ('Rust & Bone' and 'Blood Ties'), and will soon be seen opposite Kate Winslet in the British-French period rom-com 'A Little Chaos'.

More: Watch the trailer for The Drop

'The Drop''s lead role is played by Tom Hardy, the London-born actor noted for performances back home in the UK (including 'Bronson', 'Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy' and 'Locke') as well as in the US (including 'Inception', 'Warrior' and 'The Dark Knight Rises'). 

His leading lady is Noomi Rapace, a Swedish actress who made her name in the original 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' trilogy before moving on to big British genre films like 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' and 'Prometheus'.

More: 'The Drop' Features Tour-de-Force Performance from James Gandolfini

Waving the flag for the USA is the late James Gandolfini in his final performance. He shines amid his European co-stars, anchoring them to the earthy Brooklyn setting while also offering a fresh twist on the usual American mob drama.