THE DROP (2014)

Based on a short story by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone”), THE DROP is a riveting crime drama that never disappoints and is an apt final film for the late James Gandolfini. 

Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) plays a bartender at the local watering hole in Brooklyn. The bar used to belong to his boss and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), but he lost it years back to theChechnyan mob and the bar is now one of many they control that they use for money drops. 

When a robbery at the bar costs the crime bosses money, they expect Marv and Bob to make good. But Bob doesn’t realize that there are forces at play working against him and he has to come to terms with his past if he’s going to survive. 

Exceptionally well made, THE DROP explores the seedy underbelly of Brooklyn’s crime world and doesn’t pull any punches with its exploration of violence. 

Taking its time to introduce us to the world and its inhabitants, it’s a slow burn, but appropriately so. What’s most impressive is that the twists and turns are revealed gradually and well earned. They’re not meant as shocking moments, but as forecasts of the fate that will inevitable befall the characters. 

The cast is uniformly excellent with Tom Hardy giving another award worthy turn. He’s joined by Noomi Rapace as a local woman who he starts up a tentative relationship with. They are both damaged goods and there are shades of Rocky and Adrianne (from ROCKY, of course), but it’s a much more complex need for one another. 

Gandolfini gives a wonderfully nuanced portrait of a man who once thought himself king of all he surveyed and is now relegated to a figurehead with tentative ties to his lost glory. I was struck with sadness as I realized that this would be his last screen role. As always, he’s a marvel to behold and I’m at least comforted in knowing that he went out on a high note that preserves his untarnished legacy. 

I can’t recommend THE DROP enough. It’s top-notch filmmaking and solid storytelling. Put it on your MUST SEE list.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014