Synopsis: The Drop is a new crime drama from MichaÃ«l R. Roskam, the Academy Award nominated director of Bullhead. The Drop follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past.
Release Date: September 12, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Thriller
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since James Gandolfini died. Last fall, the star of “The Sopranos” hit the screen posthumously in the rom-com Enough Said. Now, audiences can see his final cinematic performance in The Drop, and it just may be the best film of his career.
The Drop is about a bartender named Bob Saginowski (Locke‘s Tom Hardy) who works in a pub in Brooklyn with his cousin, Marv (Gandolfini). At one point, Marv owned the bar, but now it is run by a group of Chechen mobsters who own every bar in town. Every night, the money from all of the different establishments is brought to one of the bars – the drop bar – for pickup by the gang. The drop bar changes every night, so when Cousin Marv’s is robbed at gunpoint, Bob and Marv count their blessings that, at least, they weren’t the drop bar that night, and all the thieves got was their nightly take. Soon enough, a plan to rob Cousin Marv’s on the night when they will be the drop bar is discovered, and Bob gets caught up between the robbers and the mobsters. Meanwhile, while walking home one day, Bob finds a beat up pit bull puppy in a trash can outside the home of a young woman named Nadia (Noomi Rapace from Prometheus). Nadia helps Bob take care of the puppy, and they become close. When Nadia’s ex-boyfriend, Eric Deeds (Rust and Bone‘s Matthias Schoenaerts) shows up to challenge Bob for the dog, Bob fights back. Eventually, Bob realizes that the dog, Nadia, and the plot to rob the bar are all connected – and he doesn’t know who he can trust.
The Drop is a movie that gets it all right. The screenplay was written Dennis Lehane, the man who wrote the novels “Shutter Island” and “Mystic River.” Director Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead) is a bit unproven, but that will probably change with his work on The Drop. The movie itself is kind of like a light version of The Departed; it’s got the interweaving storylines and complex narration, but it’s unencumbered by too many main characters. As a crime film, it’s got a little of everything – bad cops, Chechen mobsters, wannabe gangsters – and the plot has enough double crosses and red herrings to keep the viewer guessing right up until the last scene. It’s a refreshing change from the typical crime drama; it’s still got the tropes and stereotypes, but it puts them together in a way that is fresh and unique. The Drop is the type of movie that makes the audience wonder how it’s all going to pull together in the end, and doesn’t disappoint with the way it does. The writing, direction, and acting come together into a movie that should be one of the sleeper hits of the year.
James Gandolfini became iconic with his portrayal of Tony Soprano, and it’s nearly impossible to separate the man from the character. Luckily, The Drop‘s Cousin Marv is a very Soprano-like character, and Gandolfini nails it. Tom Hardy is on the opposite end of the spectrum; audiences never know what they’re going to get from the versatile character actor, whether he’s playing a comic book supervillain, an MMA fighter, or a prohibition bootlegger. His performance as Bob the bartender is another interesting role on his resume, and he’s completely believable. When he is onscreen, it becomes very difficult for the audience to look anywhere else. Noomi Rapace holds her own as well, capturing the deer-in-the-headlights insecurity of a character like Nadia very convincingly. The capable supporting cast includes familiar faces such as John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook), Michael Aronov (“The Americans”), and Ann Dowd (Compliance), all of whom deliver. The Drop boasts a great ensemble cast, but it is clearly headed up by the starpower of James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy.
Thanks to cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis (who worked with Roskam on Bullhead), The Drop has a very distinct photographic look. The images are gritty and grimy, reinforcing the New York feel of the picture. But what is really cool about the photography in The Drop is its deliberate use of selective focus. The film is shot with long lenses that provide a very shallow depth of field, so that the background and foreground are purposefully blurry for most of the scenes in the movie. It’s a great device, allowing the viewer to feel the same uncertainty and disorientation as the characters. The audience does not see secondary subjects clearly until the movie wants them to see them, adding to the mystery and intrigue. Karakatsanis’s cinematography gives The Drop a visual style that is all its own.
The musical score for The Drop was done by prolific composer Marco Beltrami who, in addition to scoring Oscar bait films like The Hurt Locker and 3:10 to Yuma, has an impressive history of horror and sci-fi credits that includes the Scream movies and the “V” television series. Beltrami calls upon his experience doing suspense films for his soundtrack to The Drop; the score is tense and pulsing, full of slow and percussive droning that, eventually, builds to a fever pitch. There is nothing in the music that the viewer is going to leave the theater humming to themselves, but that’s not what is needed. Beltrami’s music is background noise, but it makes the audience notice just how uncomfortable the situations in the film have become. It’s not going to sell a lot of soundtrack albums, but Beltrami’s score for The Drop backs up the visual storytelling extremely well.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Michael R. Roskam
- Screenwriter(s): Dennis Lehane
- Cast: Tom Hardy (Bob)Noomi Rapace (Nadia)James Gandolfini (Cousin Marv) Matthias Schoenaerts (Eric Deeds)John Ortiz (Detective Torres)
- Editor(s): Christopher Tellefsen
- Cinematographer: Nicolas Karakatsanis
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Marco Beltrami
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA