George Huertas ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
It’s Tom Hardy who saves The Drop from being just a mediocre film. The writing is Dennis Lehane at his most basic, lacking the nuance of other films based on his crime thrillers like Mystic River or Gone Baby Gone. It’s executed competently enough, but lacks a particular verve or energy for most of the film. Since the story is fairly basic, there isn’t much in the way of surprise or tension for most of the film’s 106 minute runtime. But Hardy’s performance as sad-eyed bartender Bob Saginowski elevates the film to good one. At the very least, his performance (as well as the performances of his costars James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace) warrants a look at some point.
As Bob, Hardy imbues his character with a marble mouthed way of speaking and works as a perfect contrast to Gandolfini’s more ambitious and upward thinking Marv. Marv has stars in his eyes, and is always looking for the next big score to propel himself into the big leagues. Bob, meanwhile, is all too aware of his and Marv’s lowly status in the Brooklyn underworld. They’re nothing more than a drop bar, a place for Brooklyn’s gangsters to exchange and drop off dirty money. And that’s the life he leads, until one day while traveling home, he hears a faint whining coming from a nearby trashcan in the front yard of Nadia (Rapace). Opening it, he looks inside to find an injured (and adorable) pitbull puppy. And from there on, the central plot of the film takes off.
It’s hardly a spoiler to say that plans go awry, secrets are revealed, and people die. It’s all very par the course for these crime dramas. Still, it’s executed in an efficient and competent way, and cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis’ washed out, bleak look gives the film a new level of grimness. And, of course, the acting for the drama is all around superb, with Gandolfini giving Marv a personality that is equal parts ambitious and pathetic, and Rapace giving her character a vulnerability that is both palpable and human.
With The Drop, director Michaël R. Roskam and Lehane give us a film that, while not being entirely original, is anchored by competent direction and a cadre of excellent performances.
Overall Grade: B