Tom Hardy is a force of nature and it is such a blessing for James Gandolfini in his final film (check out our Top 11 James Gandolfini movies) that the late actor has a partner in The Drop for acting volleys that are spellbinding, sizzling with tension and filled with shock and awe.
The Drop is based on the short story Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane, and he adapted his story to the screenplay. The writer of Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River trades in his usual Bostonian backdrop for the rough and tumble streets of Brooklyn. And he has given Hardy what might be the best character yet for the man who was The Warrior and Bane when you watch The Dark Knight Rises online.
Hardy is Bob, a man who tends bar at a locale that also serves as a “Drop” for mob money that moves throughout the city. His cousin Marv (Gandolfini) “runs” the bar under the watchful eye of its owners -- the Chechen mafia. When two numbskulls rob the joint, it sets in motion the entire pressure cooker plot that you know will explode at any moment -- but through director Michael R. Roskahm’s expert hand, you never, ever know when.
There’s a fantastic subplot involving Hardy finding a dog outside the home of a woman named Nadia (an outstanding Noomi Rapace).
Hardy and Rapace have fantastic chemistry, but it is never a given that these two will be romantic. In fact, their relationship mostly surrounds this pit bull puppy that Hardy names Rocco. Those bring the lighter moments to this dark and riveting film. Well, there are also some elements of the plot that are also driven by the presence of the dog that borderline on the harrowing.
One can even tell from The Drop trailer, that the film is an old-fashioned crime thriller where (relatively) innocent people get caught up in something that is clearly over their heads. Yet, the thrills involve not the “will they get away with it?” or “will they survive?” questions. With Roskahm helming, the film builds and builds and then smolders. Then, it grows ever tenser and emotionally powerful. And the beautiful thing is, our The Drop review can proudly point out, that you never know when “it” will happen. And by it, we mean the inevitable explosion of dramatic tension.
And what can be said about Gandolfini that hasn’t already been said? His turn in The Drop is one of a character who is conflicted, drawn to power, and then simultaneously terrified of all that it brings. And like so many times before, no matter what good or bad things his character does, by the end credits, you still want to give the guy a big hug.
The viewer will ask themselves this question, over and over: Who will live another day in this violent world? More to the point, will Hardy’s Bob survive?
The audience sure hopes so as his characterization is of one lovable lug who might not be the brightest bulb in the box, but who may surprise you with how razor sharp he is when all is said and done.