Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) handles his haunting past using a shield of unambitious quiet mundanity. Fate serves to shake him from his self-imposed emotional exile when he finds Rocco, an abandoned and abused pitbull puppy, in a trash can belonging to neighbour Nadia (Noomi Rapace, who earned international acclaim as Lisbeth in the original Swedish production of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy). Cruelly, the same event that provides Bob with a couple of souls clean enough to be worth an investment of energy also calls up the ghosts of his former life into a drama surrounding the robbery of the mob-run Brooklyn tap-house at which he tends the bar.
Hardy continues to go from strength to strength, here leading an excellent cast with a performance of remarkable depth and subtlety, which highlights the quality of the writing from Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone). The scope of the tale is minimal, with focus maintained tightly on a small set of characters, yet the history of each is so richly and honestly portrayed as to make their world utterly believable. The result is a thoroughly entertaining fable of morality and redemption, with the darkest of deeds compellingly set to contrast with the innocence of an adorable pair of puppy dog eyes.
His final movie role before his untimely death in 2013, James Gandolfini’s Cousin Marv will remind audiences just what a loss he is to cinema. A once-feared hood whose ability to command respect was utterly compromised by capitulation to the terrifying Chechen gangsters who now own his bar; Cousin Marv’s overt frustration at the injustice of it all brilliantly counters Bob’s weary brooding, and scenes between the two crackle with intensity. Able support comes through Rapace’s exploration of fragile pride as Nadia, and an understated turn from Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) as her villainous ex, a baddie capable of making the theft of an umbrella thoroughly unsettling.
Directing only his second feature, Michaël R Roskam has brought into being a crime thriller worthy of comparison to the best of Scorsese or Coppola. The Drop is one of the best films you will see this year.
The Drop is released nationwide on 14th November 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Drop here: