Friday, September 12, 2014

The Drop - 3 stars

Based on a short story by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone), this is a crime drama set in Brooklyn.  Tom Hardy stars as Bob Saginowski.  He tends bar at Cousin Marv’s, a popular neighborhood bar which also doubles as a money drop for Chechen mobsters.  Bob is quiet and shy.  He knows who he works for, but he isn’t involved in any criminal activity.  He kind of just keeps his head down and does his work.  But we get the impression that he wasn’t always that way. 

One night a couple guys rob the place.  The Chechens don’t really care who robbed them, they just want their money back.  So it’s up to Bob and Cousin Marv (the late James Gandolfini) to either find the robbers, or come up with the money themselves.  Another storyline concerns Bob adopting an abused dog he rescued, and his new friendship with Nadia (Noomi Rapace from The Girl with the Dragon Tatttoo), who helps teach him how to care for the dog.

What’s interesting about this movie is that the story is the least interesting part of it.  There isn’t all that much plot to speak of.  What I liked about the movie is the performances.  Gandolfini is always good, and here he easily embodies this guy who used to be somebody powerful but now has been kind of beaten down by life.  He lives with his sister, and most of their conversations have to do with whether to take their father off life support.

But the movie belongs to Tom Hardy.  He’s one of those actors who disappears into his characters.  He does a good job with the Brooklyn accent and it was amazing watching him be so interesting while doing so little.  

There were a few problems with the movie.  There’s a running storyline with the detective investigating the robbery that doesn’t go anywhere.  And too much screen time is devoted to Bob trying to care for the dog.  The movie dragged in a few places, but most of the time I was absorbed in the story and enjoying watching these actors.  It’s especially sad to realize that this is the last time we’ll get to see a new James Gandolfini performance.

Despite those problems, I enjoyed this movie.  It’s not as good as Mystic River or Gone, Baby, Gone but it had the same feel, with the same working class type of characters.  The neighborhood and the characters felt very authentic, and I was surprised how gripping and intense the climax of the movie was.  This movie is definitely worth seeing.

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