The Drop (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Running time 107 minutes.
Not for children.
Dennis Lehane’s short story “Animal Rescue” is turned into a compelling,
suspenseful motion picture by director Michaël R. Roskam from Lehane’s
script (his first screenplay). Marv (James Gandolfini) runs a Brooklyn
bar with his employee, cousin Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy). Various bars
in Brooklyn are used as a “drop” for illegal money. Marv hopes his will
be chosen, but after a botched robbery, Marv finds himself in trouble
with the Chechen crime gang that runs the area.
After Bob finds a dog and enlists the help of neighbor Nadia (Noomi
Rapace) in caring for it, the film starts to take shape. The cute and
sweet dog comes close to stealing the movie. But that would be a huge
task because the performances are superb. Gandolfini’s last role leaves
a legacy to be well-remembered. Hardy plays the seemingly ingenuous Bob
to the hilt. And Rapace gives her usual exceptional performance.
But the supporting actors are equally top notch, especially Matthias
Schoenaerts as Nadia’s violent ex-boyfriend Eric Deeds, John Ortiz as
Detective Torres who is investigating the robbery, and Michael Aronov as
the Chechen crime boss, Chovka.
What really makes the film so tense throughout, though, is the music by
Marco Beltrami. Right at the beginning, when the first notes sounded, I
said to my friend, “that’s great music,” and it continued throughout the
film. The tension crackles constantly, with potential violence seething
just below the surface in almost every scene.
The dark cinematography (Nicolas Karakatsanis) is appropriate for the
darkness of the story.
But all tense films need some humor to lighten the load and Lehane
wisely inserts a few lines and situations that had my audience laughing
Regardless of the story, and this is a good one, this film would be
worth seeing if only for the acting.