Today our film critic, David Edelstein, reviews The Drop, starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini.
In the film, Hardy plays Bob, a lonely bartender who works at a bar in Brooklyn, owned by his cousin Marv (Gandolfini). The place is a “drop bar” for a Chechen mobster laundering money. Later Bob discovers a “drop” of a different kind when he rescues a battered pit bull from the garbage.
"The Drop is directed by Michael R. Roskam, who made an excellent Belgian thriller called Bullhead, and he gives the milieu a layered, lived-in texture. But the film doesn’t have a satisfying shape; its threads aren’t tightly wound. [Writer Dennis] Lehane is clearly taking his cues from the terrific Boston writer George V. Higgins, whose novel Cogan’s Trade became a good 2012 thriller called Killing Them Softly. Higgins found the poetry in garrulous hoods, but Lehane isn’t yet in that league. There’s a psycho played by Bullhead star Matthias Schoenaerts who factors in the climax but until then seems peripheral, and a key plot point turns on a character who disappeared—probably bumped off—ten years earlier, which doesn’t give the narrative much urgency. Nearly every character wears a beard, which makes them hard to tell apart at first glance—apart from Hardy and Gandolfini, of course.
They’re the reason The Drop is worth seeing. The movie does work well as a character study of hoods who’ve learned to take their sorry fate as it comes versus hoods who try to change things—in most cases stupidly—and end up lying in puddles of their own blood. What can you say about a film where the pit bull is the most adorable character?”