The Drop (Michaël R. Roskam, 2014)
“From the author of Shutter Island and Mystic River, starring Tom Hardy…” Imma stop you right there because I’m already sold. After those edge-of-your-seat, gripping, twisty films I was eager to see author Dennis Lehane’s first screenwriting gig, based on his short story Animal Rescue. Plus TOM HARDY.
Bob (Hardy) is a bartender at Cousin Marv’s Bar, a ‘drop bar’ owned by the Chechen mafia where illegal money is deposited on designated drop nights. Marv (James Gandolfini) no longer owns his namesake, but manages the bar. After Bob comes across an injured dog in a garbage bin, he meets Nadia (Noomi Rapace) who convinces him to take the dog home with him. The abusive owner of the dog, Eric (Matthias Schoenarts) shows up and starts making threats. Meanwhile shit’s going down in the mafia, who are pissed when a robbery occurs at the bar.
I felt on edge for much of this film, anticipating violence at any second. Then I remembered this was written by the same guy who wrote Mystic River, and in that film SOMEONE STOMPS ON A GUY’S FACE. It seemed like something similar could happen any moment in The Drop, and I started to feel that maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to deal with such horrific violence. To my relief, although it did have a few shocking moments, it was not quite as brutal. Though I did have my eyes closed at one point.
Tom Hardy WELCOME to the Clairestbearest Favourites Club! This dude is hella talented! From Locke to The Drop, his versatility is astounding and here he plays one of his most compelling characters yet. Noomi Rapace is growing on me too, as she showed a completely different side to her previous roles in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Prometheus. She’s surprisingly charming, but still with an edge. I didn’t recognise Matthias Schoenaerts as the Belgian guy from Rust and Bone – he did a pretty damn good job faking an American accent which I assume wouldn’t be easy for a Belgian. James Galdolfini appears here in his final film and nails it. What a shame this is the last we will see of him.
The Drop does not quite reach the heights of Shutter Island and Mystic River but such comparisons almost seem unfair. For starters, they were filmed by two of the greats, Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood, respectively, while The Drop is only Michaël R. Roskam’s second film, after Bullhead in 2011. Dennis Lehane who has authored all three books is screenwriter for the first time, adding further inexperience to the mix. And the budget is seemingly much lower. Taking all of these factors into account, it’s a damn fine effort. If you can handle a little blood and brutality, drop yo money like it’s hot on a ticket to this one.