Drop, The (2014)
Director: Michael R. Roskam
Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts
Plot: Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood's past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living - no matter the cost.
Genre: Crime / Drama
Rating: NC16 for some strong violence and pervasive language.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“Are you doing something desperate? Something we can't clean up this time?”
After his Oscar-nominated Bullhead (2011), a foreign language film from Belgium, raised hopes that the country was not just highly-dependent on the Belgian duo – the Dardennes – to produce awards-worthy cinema, director Michael R. Roskam follows up with a crime-drama made in the States.
The Drop, as it is called, stars big name actors in Tom Hardy, the late James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace, and Bullhead star Matthias Schoenaerts. It is a masterfully-directed film with the cast delivering the requisite acting chops that elevate what would have been a well-intentioned genre movie into something of a quiet character study.
Hardy, especially, plays his character Bob superbly. His is a character who is seemingly aloof, slightly socially awkward, yet friendly and willing to help anyone in need, including a wounded dog in a trash bin. Hardy is such a screen presence; he reminds me of a young Robert De Niro, capable of bringing his character through a range of personas – gentle and unassuming to steely and uncompromising.
Much of the The Drop is suspense-building, a slow-burning drama revolving around a botched robbery that opens up to us the inner workings of organized crime in New York. Stolen money is 'dropped' in random bars, accumulated and deposited into another place; we are never sure where they come from, neither do we need to know. Because in such a film, the less you know the better.
Shrouded in mystery, a small part of the city is transformed into a strange, dangerous locale. Director Roskam evokes a mood of wariness, where the order of suspicion thrives. The naive eyes of Bob bring to the table a one-man assessment and contemplation of his and others' existence. He is, if nothing else, a product of his environment, in his environment.
While The Drop is not particularly an astounding piece of cinema, it is backed by strong performances, and a particularly excellent chemistry between Hardy and Gandolfini. Its theme of existential loneliness seems to be infused into the characterizations, with a mix of bleakness and hopefulness, in this well-crafted and at times riveting genre piece. This is something worth a look.
Verdict: A well-crafted character-driven crime-drama with the lead cast delivering the requisite acting chops.
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