In Review: The Drop

by Daniel Goodwin on 13/11/2014

The Drop

After portraying an array of characters from the likes of Bane to Welsh architect Locke, Tom Hardy returns to the familiar stomping ground of the urban gangster flick while demonstrating even further range as a dim-witted barman caught in the shifty debacles of a local crime syndicate.Hardy’s Bob is a dense but likeable lug and friendly assistant to his cantankerous cousin, bar manager Marv (James Gandolfini). Marv uses his watering hole as a secret drop off point for gangster funds and paraphernalia but after the pub is raided by masked hoodlums and the cash stolen, he and Bob come under threat from local Chechen goons demanding they seek out the culprits responsible and retrieve the stolen loot.

With a script by Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island, Mystic River), adapting his own short story, The Drop is a relatively lightweight crime drama, lacking plot complexity but is bolstered by a magnificent cast delivering solid performances. Hardy as simpleton instead of skull-crushing hard-nut is a refreshing change while Noomi Rapace plays demure migrant Nadia like a rustic ex-femme fatale.

Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone (2012), Bullhead (2011)) is terrifying as psychopathic brickhouse Eric but, along with Gandolfini as Marv, portrays a character we have seen him do before. A slight air of mystery lends itself to the frivolous story but should have been better interwoven. Too much time is spent establishing Bob as a loveable rogue through his relationships with Nadia and adopted dog Rocco.

The strong final act is reinforced by the script’s emphasis on Bob but this doesn’t justify the bland but affable first half. Despite the conflicts between Bob, Nadia and Eric, the film yearns for complexity via sub-plots examining the criminal underworld and its role in the characters lives.

There are commendable elements and interesting twists but a lack of overall sternness, gumption and plot confidence is evident. The Drop is an enjoyable but fleeting ode from Belgian Bullhead director Michael R. Roskam, making his English language debut. Despite a fantastic final act it is mostly forgettable, hindered by a familiarity and intimacy that doesn’t always lend itself to the big screen.

Daniel has awarded The Drop three Torches of Truth

three torches

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