The Drop is a perfectly serviceable crime movie, and a good showcase for its stars’ talents, but doesn’t amount to much more than that. Things aren’t predictable really, but they aren’t surprising either. The film is good, but definitely not great. You’ll come out of it with a positive experience, but it’s not one you’ll be dying to repeat anytime soon.
Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is a Brookyln bartender who works with his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini). Normally, they just run a bar, but ever since Marv lost the bar a few years prior to the story’s start, they also have to serve as a “drop bar” for the Chechen mafia. One night, their bar is robbed, which is bad for them and also the people that robbed it. The mob gives them a limited time to get the money, implying that Marv and Bob set the whole thing up. Meanwhile, Bob becomes involved with a bit of trouble involving the local psychopath, Eric Deeds (Mattias Schoenaerts), rumored to have killed a young man years earlier. Deeds believes Bob has stolen his dog Rocco and his ex girlfriend Nadia (Noomi Rapace) and stalks Bob and makes demands of him in order to get them back.
The subplot with Bob and his new best friend (the dog) is very heartwarming and hands down the best part of the movie. It offers a lot of insight into Bob’s character, and the dog is also really adorable. At the beginning of the story, Bob appears to be someone who is content to mind his own business and not get involved, but the whole time we sense that there is something more to him. While he tries to appear if he is neutral in just about every situation that is simply not the case; in reality he falls at either extreme, reacting to things with immense kindness or hostility. It’s interesting to see his character reveal more as the story goes on, both in his interactions with the dog and Nadia and with the psychopath Deeds. It’s significant that the dog is a pit bull; Rocco has a strong capability for violence but most of the time seems completely lovable.
Unfortunately, I’ve just about summed up all the good stuff about this movie. It’s nice and very bittersweet to see James Gandolfini’s final screen performance here; he does a good job but his performance, like the movie itself, is nothing groundbreaking or anything. The film can also get a bit heavy handed with the foreshadowing; it’s not too hard to guess the mysteries of Bob’s character fairly earlier on in the film. We don’t know specifics, but there’s one scene in particular involving a severed arm that shows us Bob is not as mellow and neutral as he seems to be. And we also have a line from Gandolfini just in case we couldn’t figure this out for ourselves. Other unnecessary things include John Ortiz’s character, an actor I enjoy but one who didn’t need to be here. In one way he did because if a cop didn’t get involved at some point it would be strange, but we really didn’t need him telling us things everyone else in the story had figured out a while ago.
The film, overall, is pretty good. It’s just not remarkable and it’s hard to find things to say about it for this reason. There were a couple of things that bothered me, but they were all really minor and any of them on their own wouldn’t detract from the overall experience. I suppose having all of these things in one movie just dragged it down a bit too much. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to the theater to catch this one, but if you are ever in the need to rent something or catch this on cable, it’s worth a look.
Long story short: 3/4 stars
For Further Reading: