The ground treaded here is well-worn and well-traveled but what The Drop proves is that despite an already heavily trafficked road, new scenery is still awaiting to be discovered. All it takes to make something like the crime genre feel fresh although familiar is a well-crafted script and a top-notch cast to bring some real heartfelt emotion into the project. This is nothing flashy or even overly exciting but it is anything but dull. It is slow paced and yet it never drags or feels unnecessary. A slow burn leading to something dark is imminent throughout and when it will happen is anyone’s guess and so as a result there is a lot of tension felt by the audience; especially from the lead character played brilliantly as always by Tom Hardy.
A bittersweet facet of this film is the powerhouse final performance from the late and always great, James Gandolfini. We will never see this dazzling actor do what he did best, ever again. He always demanded a certain amount of respect simply by entering the scene; his presence was always prominent and certainly never lackluster. He was as big in stature as he was in talent on screen and in life itself. He is, was, a talent that will be greatly missed. His performance in The Drop is a small, minuscule glimpse at the brilliance he showcased with every role he brought to scarily realistic life. This is certainly, in my opinion, a worthy enough sendoff for such a wonderful human being.
The Drop is a simple enough story about simple, everyday people who want to work and go home. Some have aspirations to achieve a life that passed them by while others just want to have a quiet, uneventful day to day. Bob, a man not seen as much is the bartender at Cousin Marv’s Bar ran by his actual cousin, Marv. Bob may not look like much but as time progresses and things transpire around him, his demeanor begins to alter ever so slightly until the pressure becomes far too great to hold inside. Slowly, details of Bob’s past begin to leak and a very different picture starts to take form of who Bob really is. When an incident at the bar happens, the local Mafioso types demand retribution for profits lost in the incident. What Bob doesn’t realize is that those closest to him may be involved in a situation that could get him and others killed and naturally he isn’t appreciative of this fact. He tries to maintain some kind of civility but when running amongst rats, civility doesn’t exactly have a place.
Cast aside, the biggest selling point here is the script or more specifically the screenwriter, Dennis Lehane who is responsible for such phenomenal novels as Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island. It is clear by this point in his career that he knows how to write a story and most importantly, he writes characters that are fleshed out and highly compelling. They are relatable archetypes who are thrown into often surreal but completely viable situations that would destroy the best of us. Through flaws in the characters’ pasts, there is an unprecedented strength that is pulled out of them in such dire moments. It is these profound moments and strengths that bring out the best in Lehane’s writing and no matter who takes the reigns of the director’s chair, they have substantial material to work with and so far, every film adapted from one of his stories has been beautifully orchestrated.
I can see and even understand that many may in fact hate this movie; it is as I said slow and with very little violence but because of this minimal ferocity, what little there is, is all the more impactful and shocking. Give it a chance, stick out the run time and you just might enjoy this small but captivating crime thriller; I know I did. At the very least, see it and bid a fond but possibly teary-eyed farewell to the genius that James Gandolfini was. To end a wonderful career with the likes of Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and screenwriter Dennis Lehane; one could do a lot worse.
Rated R For: some strong violence and pervasive language
Run Time: 106 minutes
Post-credits Scene: None
Starring: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz
Directed By: Michaël R. Roskam
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
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