Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘The Drop’ Review: Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace & James Gandolfini

The Drop compiles exceptional talent with Tom Hardy (2014’s Locke), Noomi Rapace (2013’s Dead Man Down), James Gandolfini (2013’s Enough Said) and Ann Dowd (2014’s Gimme Shelter) all on board, making it one of the best casts of the year. As James Gandolfini’s final movie, the late actor gets to explore a layered and unpredictable character that fans will enjoy watching unfold throughout the film.

Based on the novel titled “Animal Rescue,” written by Dennis Lehane, who also adapted the screenplay and wrote the novels “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “Shutter Island,” The Drop takes place in Brooklyn, NY and follows soft-spoken and meek bartender Bob (Tom Hardy), who finds himself in the middle of a robbery at Cousin Marv’s, the bar he works at. Alongside his cousin and once bar owner Marv (James Gandolfini), Marv empties out the cash register and hands the money to the two masked thieves.

But the thieves aren’t just taking the bar’s hard-earned money, Cousin Marv’s is being used as a “drop bar,” a scheme where guys bring in money to the bar which is then funneled to local gangsters. Just when Bob thinks the robbery is over and done with, the owners of the bar pay an unexpected visit the following day asking Bob and Marv to find stolen $5,000. While Bob is desperate to find the stolen money, he is also dealing with a psychotic fiend named Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts), who keeps popping up around town demanding his dog back. Yes, the dog that Bob rescued after he found him abused and abandoned in a trash can.

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The Drop is a fitting final piece of work for the late great James Gandolfini. His character packs the perfect blend of comedy, intensity and is all around a badass New Yorker you wouldn’t want to cross. Besides the puppy pit bull stealing the majority of the scenes in the movie (that baby was a cutie pie and Hardy is just adorable with him), Gandolfini steals every scene he’s in and he elevates Hardy’s already smooth performance. The two work seamlessly together, giving life to Lehane’s screenplay. It’s a damn shame we won’t get to see another film with the actor, but at least he went out on top.

The only major complaint with The Drop is that our lead actress Noomi Rapace was underused. Any actress could have filled this damsel in distress role and though Rapace succeeds in all her scenes, the Prometheus actress’ talents are far greater than what she was given here. I’m also not sure I totally bought into her chemistry with Hardy, but that just may be because their scenes were secondary to Hardy and Gandolfini’s.

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The climax and ending not dare be given away, but it is what makes the overall film come together, shocking the audience and playing into their speculations from the very beginning. What’s brilliant about Lehane’s story and Roskam’s direction is that they slowly, but carefully move the story forward as if the viewer is tiptoeing along to watch it, only to making the climatic scene more startling and unforeseen.

Tom Hardy is a remarkable actor and transforms into every role he’s in, he literally could make any movie better, while James Gandolfini fits the role of Cousin Marv beautifully. If you’re looking for an action-packed thriller with lots of gunfights and gore, The Drop this isn’t, but if you can patiently wait out the first hour and 40 minutes of the film, I can promise you the ending is well worth the wait.

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