Published on November 15th, 2014 | by Allan Brown5
The Drop Review
Movie Review: The Drop (2014)
Running Time: 106 mins
Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Writers: Dennis Lehane (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (Short story “Animal Rescue”)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz
After much critical praise and a shower accolades including an Academy Award Nomination for his gritty debut feature, ‘Bullhead’ (‘Rundskop’ original title), director Michaël R. Roskam returns for another stab at the criminal underworld with The Drop, this time bringing along the formidable Tom Hardy, and the unforgettable James Gandolfini in his last ever performance.
When a small unassuming Brooklyn bar – owned by Chechen gangsters and home to a discreet money drop system – falls victim to a daring armed robbery, slow witted bar tender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) finds himself at the centre of probing police investigation, were murder, deceit and unwise delusions of a lost reputation, bring back unwanted attention from the neighbourhood’s shady past.
Adapted from the short story; Animal Rescue, comes the fourth big screen adaptation from accomplished novelist, Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island).
Despite being penned by a master craftsman, The Drop, like many short story adaptations (I’m thinking The Babadook and Mama), unfortunately falls victim to being stretched way beyond its narrative depth, to justify anything near a compelling feature length film.
The film dances with the themes of redemption, salvation, power and reputation, and some of its characters, Bob in particular, shine on-screen in what is another great character performance from Tom Hardy. Others come off more generic, like Gandolfini’s Cousin Marv, who is essentially a retired Tony Soprano.
Noomi Rapace and Matthias Schoenaerts also give notable performances, but again, their characters are never given enough to work with, and too often, feel like padding or participants in another extraneous sub-plot that feels forced to tie in with the main narrative.
There is no dramatic turning point here and so the film never really gets off the ground. You sit their poised waiting for the slow burring tension that’s always simmering, to switch gear, but it sadly never does.
In the end, the cast who all perform with commitment deserve credit for managing to convincingly portray their characters. But sadly, The Drop offers too little meat on the bone in what is ultimately a weak, meandering and uneventful screenplay – such a shame considering the talent involved.
Summary: Not even the acting prowess of Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini or a puppy named Rocco, can save The Drop from being anything other than a bland and incredibly predictable crime drama.