The Drop movie review (London Film Festival)

The Drop green light

Cements Tom Hardy’s reputation as one of the most effortlessly mesmerizing actors working today.
I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Bob Saginowski is the sweet, kind — he rescues an abused and abandoned puppy! — loner bartender at his cousin Marv’s Brooklyn bar, a divey neighborhood place that’s owned by local mobsters and occasionally used by them as a “drop,” a collection point, for ill-gotten takings. Oh, it’s not the old-fashioned, respectable Italian mafia, which once had room for Marv (James Gandolfini [The Incredible Burt Wonderstone], in the last thing we’ll ever see him in), but crazy Chechen bastards, the kind of people whom no one would dare cross. So who the hell was dumb enough to hold up Marv’s place and piss off the Chechens? Even the cops aren’t inclined to get too mixed up this one, which leaves Marv and Bob to try to figure out whodunnit and get back the money… money they still owe to the bosses, of course.

If the marvelous one-man cinematic show that was Locke proved that Tom Hardy could hold the screen on his own for an hour and a half, then The Drop cements his reputation as one of the most effortlessly mesmerizing actors working today. This is entirely his movie, his Bob a stolid figure of a simple man on the periphery of a life of crime and savagery that, it seems, he simply isn’t cut out for but cannot avoid. But there’s something enigmatic about him, too, in the discomfort that appears to haunt him about his own kindnesses: he almost instantly regrets taking on that puppy, that for instance. And he has little idea what to make of skittish, wounded Nadia (Noomi Rapace: Passion) and her ex, Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts: Blood Ties); the puppy is a casualty of their violent relationship, which Bob now finds himself in the middle of.

Based on the short story “Animal Rescue,” by Dennis Lehane (which you can read online here, or in the anthology Boston Noir), this movie shares one strong motif with other films based on his crime fiction, including Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River: the unexpected impact of violence on ordinary people. Hardy’s Bob lumbers through The Drop like violence is a shadow he can’t shake, which lends even the sporadic moments of gruesome black comedy here a startling pathos.

viewed during the 58th BFI London Film Festival

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