johnlink ranks THE DROP (2014)

Been awhile since I’ve watched a movie. The last couple of weeks were consumed with binge watching the first three seasons of the exceptional Orphan Black form BBC America. That is must watch TV, and I wish I didn’t have to wait until May of 2016 for the next chapter. But that has nothing to with THE DROP, a movie I’ve been wanting to see if only because Tom Hardy makes everything better.


I watched THE DROP (2014) on 9.12.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

There is nothing of Bane, at all, in Tom Hardy’s performance as Bob in THE DROP. Bob is quiet, maybe a little dense, certainly not vindictive. He is not afraid to talk about what he does not know, and he is never one to admit when he does know something. We can tell there is something going on in his head, but we don’t quite know what it is for awhile.

Bob is a bartender at his Cousin Marv’s bar. Marv (James Gandolfini, in his final performance) is an aging bruiser, someone who doesn’t have to run his bar with an iron fist because of his reputation from the old days in Brooklyn. Bob and Marv have a mutual respect, even as Marv barks instructions and Bob lets his cousin be the alpha.

The film is driven by two major storylines which we know will connect eventually. On one side is a bar robbery which has Marv in hot water with the Chechen mobsters who use the bar as their drop for money needing some laundering. On the other side, Bob finds a beaten pitbull puppy in a trash can whom he adopts and futures back to health with much assistance from neighbor Nadia (Noomi Rapace). The person who connects these two story lines is the dog’s previous owner, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts). Deeds is an unpredictable criminal who pushes into both ends of the story.


The plot twist in THE DROP can be seen coming from a mile away. There are so many hints dropped along the way that the final reveal feels more like a formality. In a lesser film, that would be a problem. But the DROP, as written by Dennis Lehane (from his short story) and directed by Michaël R. Roskam, is about character and dialogue. Gandolfini and Hardy have some wonderful side bar banter, and most of it is quick. This isn’t Tarantino going on longform tangents about cheeseburgers and foot massages, developing character through observations about concepts which feel wonderfully arbitrary. Instead, Lehane’s quick hits devolve into etymology or religion or food in a way which reveals these to be more like typical uman guys (rather than Tarantino’s larger-than-life characters).

The dialogue here is solid, and the simple story almost feels to simple sometimes. But that story parallels Bob himself. This is, after all, a movie about a guy who is mostly on the surface, except for one major secret. THE DROP operates this way as well. Sometimes it almost seems too simple, but it is driven by one major twist which we are invited to guess at.

I liked THE DROP. It doesn’t, maybe, invite multiple viewings. But it provides solid dialogue, nuanced performances, and some satisfying crime fiction. It’s certainly one to see.




FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on September 13, 2015.

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