Synopsis – Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.
My Take – This film happens to be James Gandolfini last film, He passed away on June 19, 2013 at the age of 51, during his vacation in Rome, Italy. Luckily Director Michael Roskam did him justice with one last great performance. What makes this film different from other ones of the same genre is that no one seems to be a big talker and we can tell that all of these characters are more than meets the eye and carry significant baggage from a checkered past. Most films that deal with organized crime ask us to witness the violence that just seems to “come with the territory” so to speak with it. This film asks us instead to imagine the potential for violence in a man and how brief releases of that violence can affect their lives in the future. There are moments of violence and bloodshed, but they come in such short and intense instances that they hit you harder than violence normally would in another film of this sort, this lasting effect carries throughout the remainder of the film.
The story follows Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) and his Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) who run what’s known as a drop bar which simply mean that they serve as a place where mobsters leave large amounts of illegal money to pick up at a later date. Cousin Marv used to be a man of his own power in the organized crime world and briefly had his own crew before he was pushed aside by an incoming Chechen gang and now he just manages the bar with Bob. 10 years has passed sense this change but Marv is still as bitter as ever about his position in life. While Bob’s life changes when he finds a wounded puppy in a trash can outside of the damaged Nadiya’s (Noomi Rapace) house. They both decide to take care of the dog together as a potential budding romance threatens to grow. The plot of “The Drop” has been done before to various degrees, and Lehane’s script was surprisingly predictable. Although the material wasn’t particularly fresh, the actors and a few strong scenes make it worthwhile. The film is much more a character study first about Bob and his back story. What this film does beautifully is show the progression of the story strictly through casual dialog, explaining why Bob is the way he is. Our first clue to Bob’s back story is a subtle hint as he attends church and does not accept the communion offering. A recurring theme throughout the film is the idea of how a sin can weigh your conscious down. Some of this is heavy handed and others are very subtle and mostly through something as small as a glare from Tom Hardy or a sigh from James Gandolfini. Quite frankly, without these amazing performances from everyone across the board, this film would more than likely sink after the first 30 minutes.
The entire cast especially Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini & Noomi Repace, are all in top form here. There is not one hollow or fake performance, they are all pitch perfect and really pull together to mend the story and progress it very well. The real stand out is Tom Hardy though, who continuously keeps turning in really well, thoughtful and master class performances! Gandolfini is unsurprisingly fantastic in his final big screen performance. He plays to perfection a middle aged has-been that’s ticked off with what his life has become. The direction they took with his character was predictable and left me very disappointed, but I’m happy that his last performance was this good. Noomi Rapace arguably gave the best performance in the film, and probably the best supporting actress I’ve seen so far this year. She does a great job playing a damaged woman trying to lead a good life, and her scenes with Hardy (and the dog!) are some of the best of the movie. The movie is also really funny at times (mainly Gandolfini in the first half hour and Hardy with the dog). It drags a bit at times, and like I said above the script could have been a lot better, but it’s still a very good movie that easily could have been a great one with a few changes. On the whole The Drop is a dark, tense, brooding crime film which thankfully awesome performances, making it a good watch!
Director – Michaël R. Roskam
Rated – R
Run Time – 106 minutes