“The Drop” is a crime drama from Michaël R. Roskam, the Academy Award nominated director of Bullhead. This is the first screenplay from Dennis Lehane who also wrote the novels that Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island were based on. This movie's premise is based on his short story Animal Rescue.
The movie follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) who at first appears to be a stand up guy who just has no real human connection with anyone outside of his job at Cousin Marv’s Bar. This bar was formerly owned but still managed by who else but his real Cousin Marv -- who is played superbly by the late great James Gandolfini in his last movie role.
Marv is a Tony Soprano wannabe of a gangster. He ran things on his block ten years before, but the block and his bar have been taken over by Chechen mobsters. They still use his bar as a “Drop,” a place to deposit all the illegal money gathered around the city that night but that’s all explained in, maybe a bit too much depth, the voice over in the beginning. Marv is still bitter about this, whereas the thoughtful and stoic Bob just seems to take everything in stride along with his Catholic guilt.
That soon changes when Bob finds a pit bull puppy (yes Tom Hardy with a puppy) someone put in the trash and meets Nadia (Noomi Rapace). Then his world gets a little more jumbled when Marv’s place gets robbed. Needless to say even though they didn’t get “the drop” they still get away with 5 grand which angers the Chechens. Bob’s life is further complicated when he’s threatened by a neighborhood tough guy and Nadia’s Ex, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) who claims to have killed the local whose disappearance was being toasted at the bar in the beginning of the movie.
As with most of Lehane’s stories it was originally set in Boston but the film makers decided to bring it to Brooklyn. There they successfully create a dark gritty atmosphere reminiscent of some of the great New York crime movies of the 1970s.
The plot is a bit predictable even though at times it’s a little hard to follow. Roskam and Lehane seem to have some troubles with the pacing and there are a few times where the story seems to drag a bit. However the characters and moodiness of this story are really brought to life, especially with the compelling performances of Gandolfini, Hardy and the rest of this stellar cast.
This movie ends up being more than just a crime drama. It’s a character study that takes you into the minds of some people who just seem like regular guys at first but have damaged goods simmering and stewing just beneath their skin.
The Blu-Ray also includes some great featurettes about the story, Brooklyn, Rocco the Pitbull, and an homage to Gandolfini which are definitely worth checking out.