– by David Morgan-Brown
The Brooklyn-set crime-thriller featuring ball-breakingly hard mobsters is a genre in itself, and although The Drop will find itself in the shadows of its superiors, it’s still a worthy entry. The title of the film refers to the nickname of a bar run by Bob (Tom Hardy) and Marv (James Gandolfini) where gangsters can launder their money, and because this is a Brooklyn-set crime-thriller featuring ball-breakingly hard mobsters, things are going to go wrong soon enough and things aren’t going to be quite as they seem.
There are two storylines going on: one involving a theft of Chechen gangster money from the drop bar, the other showing Bob’s reluctant new responsibility of caring for a stranded dog. These two storylines seem opposed (though the film’s original title ‘Animal Rescue’ would’ve revealed more about the latter story), but it’s an ingenious way of fleshing out the sides of Bob’s character, showing the ways he responds to the two responsibilities he faces, one life-threatening and thuggish, the other gentle and trivial in comparison.
The ordinariness of the film is not something to be too put off by, The Drop is a solid, taut film with good acting and dialogue to carry it through each scene that is as relatively involving as the last. Tom Hardy’s performance is quite downplayed and casual, playing the passive passer-byer to all the commotion happening around him (which, due to his passiveness, has been given to him to handle). This is in contrast to the acting from James Gandolfini (the last performance from this strong actor) whose menacing, volatile, and self-serving character gives every scene he’s in an uneasy sense of threat.
Although the film ain’t a bad way to spend nearly two hours, almost everything about it only seems decent. The Drop is a somewhat unmemorable and unremarkable crime-thriller flick that, although stands on its own two feet, pales a little bit in comparison to other recent crime-thrillers. Despite the good acting and the intriguing dual stories that complement each other, there’s a sense that the film somewhat muted and underwhelming and it’s somewhat easy to imagine it could’ve more tense, more powerful, and more memorable.