Tom Hardy of Inception and The Dark Knight Rises channels his inner New Yorker in The Drop, a crime drama featuring James Gandolfini's swan song
Bob Saginowski (Hardy) is a bartender in Brooklyn.
His world is a grim expanse of poor neighborhoods and concrete. It's peopled by tough characters and the specter of death.
The establishment Bob works in is run by the Chechen mob and operates as a “drop” point for their illicit money. One night, the owner Marv (Gandolfini) and Bob serve a group of customers who are honoring a friend murdered in the same venue ten years before.
At this point, the plot stew thickens and new flavors are introduced.
While on his way home, Bob hears a puppy crying in a garbage can. Nadia (Noomi Rapace), who lives in the house where the dog was dumped, helps Bob bathe the dog. Bob is reluctant to adopt it, but he relents and names the dog Rocco.
To further complicate Bob's humdrum life, the bar is robbed by two masked gunmen. Bob notices one of the robbers has a broken watch. Marv and Bob readily give the robbers the money kept at the bar, but this ruffles Marv's feathers, because the Chechens would definitely retaliate upon learning about the theft.
Meanwhile, Nadia and Bob grow closer taking care of Rocco. At a dog park, a stranger tells Bob how nice Rocco dog is. The man, Eric Deeds, later visits Bob's house and tells him the dog was his. He demands Bob give it back and threatens to call the police on him.
From here, the movie tumbles and turns with a gripping pace. Scorsese would be proud. The violence is served in measured doses too.
Shortly after Marv reveals to Bob that Deeds was the man behind the murder from ten years prior they see a garbage bag with a severed arm. It is wearing a broken watch, and in the garbage bag are the bloodied dollars bills that was stolen.
After giving the money back to the Chechens, Bob and Marv are informed they're hosting the biggest drop for the season.
Will Bob snap under pressure?
The film does its best to make sure imminent danger is just around the corner. Suspense is taut and almost unbearable at some parts. The Drop is a unique crime drama that manages to ensnare the audience in suspended disbelief.
Brit actor Tom Hardy, in a rare leading role, shines as a soft-spoken bartender whose pathos lurks beneath a calm surface.
He's also a very convincing American hoodlum trying to redeem himself.
The same goes for the brilliant Noomi Rapace. Both actors are believable Brooklynites.
But The Drop could have been a huge failure in the hands of a lesser director. Belgian director Michaël Roskam—who at 42 has only three feature films—proves that being a great director does not require one to be prolific.
The movie is a must for crime drama lovers and a welcome antithesis to all the feel good, CGI-heavy flicks out now.
Catch The Drop in select cinemas on November 12.