“The Drop” Review

Containing the last on-screen performance of James Gandolfini’s career, The Drop is a story about a bartender who finds himself in the midst of a robbery. The subsequent investigation delves into his and his neighborhood’s past while he struggles to take care of new challenges in his life. What’s notable about this film is that Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island, wrote the screenplay based off of his own short story. The director of the film is actually Belgian, known for the Academy Award nominated Bullhead, and this is his first English language film.

The exciting thing about this film is that it doesn’t hold your hand so you can figure the narrative out. There are no flashbacks to explain what events people are referring to, and the result is an fascinating character study, as well as an intriguing crime story. You enter the film with certain preconceptions about each character, and you get to have them challenged throughout. I feel like multiple viewings of this film would yield different experiences each time, as you get more insight into the plot as well as each of the characters.

A large part of what holds this film together are the brilliant performances. Tom Hardy stars as Bob, the bartender in question. Nailing his Brooklyn accent, he emulates a sort of quiet confidence that is nothing but charming. You end up spending the entire movie trying to figure out what type of guy he is because there are so many different layers. The legendary James Gandolfini goes out with a bang as the complicated Cousin Marv. And the ensemble is also very strong, with Noomi Rapace, Matthias Schoenaerts, and John Ortiz all giving fantastic performances.

With such a dark subject matter, it wouldn’t be hard for the film to get exhausting and monotonous. However, the movie’s subtle humor helps break up the pacing, and Bob’s subplot with Noomi Rapace’s character provides some much-needed relief. The film is strangely charismatic, and I found myself smiling along with the movie a lot more than I probably should.

I really enjoyed this film, but I probably won’t be recommending it to everyone I see. It’s too slow and intimate to be a mainstream crime drama, but not weird enough to be an art film (Killing Them Softly comes to mind). If anything that I’ve said has piqued your interest though, I’d give it a shot. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. 9/10.

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