The Short- Based on a short story and written for the screen by Dennis Lehane, The Drop is the crime drama you have waited all summer to see. Tom Hardy gives an Incendiary performance along with the final appearance from a brilliant James Gandolfini on screen. The Drop is a dark, twisted, crime fantasy with a fantastic script and enough tension to keep you nervously staring at the screen.
Dennis Lehane is more known for writing the crime drama’s that later get adapted for the screen (Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island, and Mystic River) then he is for actually writing for the screen. The Drop is based on the short story “Animal Rescue” also written by Lehane, and even though this is debut as a screen writer the script is one of this films greatest achievements. Lehane and helmer Michaël R. Roskam keep the tension dialed all the way up and the rest of the film is carried by the films brilliant cast. Tom Hardy plays Bob, a bartender at Cousin Marv’s bar, which is owned by the mob and run by Marv (James Gandolfini). Cousin Marv’s is used as a drop bar, a place where thousands of dollars are laundered whenever they are called on to do it. After a night where thousands of dollars come in to be dropped the bar is robbed, what follows sets up The Drop as one of 2014s top crime films.
For Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini it is par for the course, Hardy is electric as the quiet bartender Bob and Gandolfini is fantastic as the moody Marv who spends just as much time reliving his past toughness. Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) plays Nadia, a waitress who Bob meets when he finds a puppy that has been beaten and put in her garbage can. Nadia has her own issues just like every other character in The Drop, Nadia is complex and Rapace and Hardy have fantastic chemistry as they begin a relationship. The guy who steals the show is Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), who plays Nadia’s psychopathic ex-boyfriend. The Belgium native is scary good and plays an incredibly memorable bad guy. Schoenaerts plays Eric Deeds with a devilish flair, Deeds is a wild card and as he breaks into houses and threatens Bob and Nadia the more unpredictable he starts to feel. Hardy and Gandolfini you expect to come into a film like this and give top shelf performances by Schoenaerts is a wonderful example of an actor who shows up in a movie and instantly grabs your attention.
The Drop is directed by Michaël R. Roskam (2011 Oscar nominated foreign film Bullhead) using the brilliant work of Dennis Lehane, Roskam creates a dark moody version of Brooklyn. Cameras capture conversations and normal movements from a distance as if someone else is always watching which adds a creepy dreamlike feel to the film. His direction which makes the movie feel a lot like another Lehane adaptation, Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone. You get to see the underbelly of a place that were used to seeing referred too for trendy bars and eateries, Cousin Marv’s is not a clean bar where you can order a martini. The Drop shows you an older, scaled back Brooklyn and it becomes a comparable setting for Roskam’s thrilling crime drama. I’d also be mistaken if I didn’t mention Roscoe, the adorable puppy Bob finds at the beginning of the film, the one piece of light in a movie filled with darkness. Roscoe steals scenes from Hardy and Rapace and is the perfect distraction in a film filled dark figures.
In a year filled with disappointing box office and somewhat disappointing summer popcorn flicks it’s nice to see the last few weeks we have gotten indie movies that have been able to give us that first introduction to the 2014-2015 awards season. The Drop is one of those films that have gotten good enough reviews that critics may find it fit to award it with some nominations but it’s a nice start to our awards season slate. The Drop is also a fine ode to the career of James Gandolfini who spent his career playing dark mobsters and in The Drop he gives a memorable final performance. The Drop just might be that dark crime drama we were missing during the summer.