27 feb. 2015

The Drop (8/10): Tom Hardy delivers an outstanding performance in this criminal thriller

“There are some sins that you commit that you can't come back from, you know, no matter how hard you try. You just can't.”

The Drop is my kind of film and that is why I am able to look past the predictability of the story and simply enjoy the movie for what it is: a low level gangster film with an outstanding cast. If you are the kind of person who prefers spectacular car chases and heavy shooting in thrillers than The Drop definitely isn’t for you because it is a slow burner that requires patience from the viewers. It is more interested in establishing who these characters are and setting the atmosphere and tone of the movie than in focusing on the action scenes. It doesn’t discard the banality of these gangsters day to day life so at times the viewer might feel that it is an ordinary and boring film, but if you stick with the story the ending definitely pays off. I enjoyed that slow buildup and didn’t mind it at all because I loved how the story focused on Tom Hardy’s character arc and was drawn to his performance. The Drop is based on Dennis Lehane’s short story, Animal Resuce, and the screenplay was also adapted by him so I had confidence in the story that was being told. Lehane has written some of my favorite crime thrillers (Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River) so I knew he was going to deliver once again. It might just be another crime thriller that doesn’t stand out from other films in the genre, but if you are a fan of these stories you will have a great time with The Drop.  

The Drop is directed by Michael Roskam and despite not being as groundbreaking as his Oscar nominated Belgian film, Bullhead, it is still one of the best thrillers of the year thanks to the wonderful performances from the cast and the attention to details of the Brooklyn scene. In The Drop Tom Hardy stars as a lonely bartender named Bob. Along with his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) they run things at a local bar as a cover for dangerous Chechen gangsters. This is just one of the many bars the Chechens use as a cover to drop off all the money from the night’s criminal activities in one place. There are some strong supporting performances from John Ortiz who plays a detective investigating a robbery that takes place in Marv’s bar, Noomi Rapace who thanks to the help of an abandoned puppy warms up to Bob’s lonely persona, and Matthias Schoenaerts a low life criminal trying to con Bob using the puppy. As you can tell the puppy plays an important role in this film and there is something symbolic about its presence in the way it changes Bob’s social life. It’s the cutest puppy I’ve seen on film this year.

The greatest thing about The Drop is without a doubt Tom Hardy’s lead performance. Hardy is establishing himself as my favorite actor. He is such a versatile actor and in this film he reminded me a lot Gosling’s character in Drive. He is sort of retracted and silent, but he conveys so much without saying anything. His character arc is what drives this film. Another reason to watch The Drop is that it’s James Gandolfini’s final performance. He passed away a month after having finished shooting this film. We’ve seen him play this role many times in the past, but he does it so well that I found it a fitting farewell. Schoenaerts is excellent and Rapace plays these dark roles to perfection. John Ortiz also has some interesting scenes and I was glad to see Ann Dowd have a small role as well. I wish she had more screen time. The Drop is worth watching for the cast alone, but it also has a smart screenplay and an interesting atmospheric tone. It’s short of being a masterpiece, but it still is a wonderful film.  
   
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