THE DROP | MOVIE REVIEW

THE DROP is a slow build nuanced film starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late great James Gandolfini. From everything I read this is a superb last film for Gandolfini to be remembered by and one of Hardy’s best performances. It is also from author Dennis Lehane which to me is an immediate win-win. Kernel Andrew Brusentsev attended the screening for this and his thoughts are below. THE DROP is released by 20th Century Fox Australia, it is out this Thursday 13th, runs for 106min and is rated MA15+. Enjoy Andrew’s review………all the best………JK.

 

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THE DROP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

I have been watching Tom Hardy quite closely ever since I saw his shockingly violent but extremely nuanced performance in BRONSON. He continued to put in great performances in ROCK N ROLLA, INCEPTION and then my full attention was garnered with a string of fantastic performances in THE FIGHTER, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and the terrific LOCKE.

THE DROP though may be his true breakout vehicle. THE DROP is a superbly made, gritty, slow moving character study. It had me thinking of another similar effort. Scorsese’s breakout movie MEAN STREETS. THE DROP is based on a short story by Dennis Lehane whose work has also been used for other commercially and critically acclaimed movies MYSTIC RIVER, SHUTTER ISLAND and GONE BABY GONE. The movie is directed by Michaël R. Roskam who also makes his screenwriting debut with this picture. If you are interested in gritty character examinations you should check out his excellent BULLHEAD which was an Oscar nominee in the foreign language section in 2011. I hate that moniker “foreign movie” they are all just movies ain’t they? (ED NOTE: Not in an American film awards night ran by an industry that believes it controls the world :)) This movie really is all about Hardy. A character examination in minute detail which lets the audience observe a slow onion like peel away of a character to his very moral core. A core that many would not expect I think.

 

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THE DROP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BOB (TOM HARDY) AND A PUPPY – THE WORLD SWOONS

 

Hardy plays Bob Saginowski who is a slow talking, seemingly dim witted, bar tender in a Brooklyn dive bar. This bar as we have explained to us very early is used by local Chechen mobsters as a “drop” bar. A bar where money from illegal activities is stored for the night like a temporary bank. The money is then picked up by said gangsters and another bar is used. The bar used to be owned by his cousin Marv (the late great James Gandolfini) before he was squeezed out by the new Chechen owners. The exchanges between Bob and his cousin Marv are some of the movies finest. It really highlights what a heartbreaking loss Gandolfini is to the world of acting. He is just effortless, performing as if breathing. Hardy, in these scenes, matches him beat for beat and they are spell binding to watch.

From the outset we see that Bob is a lonely kind of man. He is respectful, knows how to keep his head down in this violent seedy world that swirls around him. He is also a real sweetheart. We see him comp shots to the regulars as they salute the anniversary of a friend’s passing and he also allows a lonely old woman to hang out all day on Marv’s special bar stool. But Bob is always watching, he sees all, reacts to nothing. There is strength underneath his gentleness. Bob, it seems, is also quite religious. He dutifully attends mass but curiously never takes confession.

 

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THE DROP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | COUSIN MARV (THE LATE AND GREAT JAMES GANDOLFINI)

 

The plot moves along when late one night two masked robbers burst in and take rob Marv and Bob for the takings. I won’t provide any spoilers at all, safe to say though that the current “owners” are none too happy and expect Bob and Marv to pay them back the money. Bob takes this in his stride but it seems that Marv is in over his head and resorts to measures that are destined to backfire.

Bob’s insular life is also turned around when he passes by a garbage can on the way home and hears an animal whimpering inside. Inside he finds an abused puppy. Pretty soon the two are inseparable. There are other dynamics at play here too. The owner of the house Nadia (Noomi Rapace) confronts Bob digging through her trashcan. But after helping Bob with Rocco the two form a strange connection, friendship of sorts. There is a mutual attraction but both are not really dwelling on it.

We quickly learn who put the dog in the trashcan. Nadia’s former boyfriend and psycho tough guy named Eric Deeds. Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts, a standout in BULLHEAD) who likes to unexpectedly show up at people’s houses to get their attention, is determined to get both the pup and Nadia back.

The two storylines are building to a climax when the Chechens inform Bob and Marv that their bar will be used for a “drop” on Super Bowl Sunday (which is the biggest drop of any given year). That night Eric Deeds also turns up at the bar with an unwilling Nadia. It becomes clear that Bob, if he wants to assure the safety of Rocco and Nadia as well as hold off the gangsters, will have to make some very difficult decisions.

 

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THE DROP | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BOB (TOM HARDY)

 

Roskam does a perfect job in telling this story slowly. Allowing some fine performances from all mentioned to move the narrative. The tension builds perfectly as we explore the characters layer by layer. It really is quite masterful.

Other notable performances which are too brief are the excellent John Ortiz who plays an on-the-ball detective who suspects there is more to the bar than people are letting on. As well as the terrific Ann Dowd who barely gets a chance to make an impression as Marv’s fed-up sister.

But the film really is an actor driven feast held together by the trio of Schoenaerts, Gandolfini and the absolutely terrific Hardy.

England now has a powerful triumvirate: Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy. LOCKE and THE DROP will make my best movies of this year. It is an excellent gritty crime character portrait. Well worth a visit at the movies or a second watch.

 

4 and a Half Pops