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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The Drop (2014)


Never trust a silent bartender. Don’t even bother tipping them, either.

Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is a bit of a lone wolf in that, he mostly keeps to himself, goes to work at the bar his cousin, Marv (James Gandolfini), run, and goes to Church every Sunday. Also, occasionally he drops some money to fellow gangsters who own his bar. So yeah, life is good for Bob, that is, until he discovers a beaten-up and bruised puppy in a trashcan. Which yeah, doesn’t seem all that bad considering that he takes it in as his own and even names it, but he starts to develop a relationship with the woman who found it with him (Noomi Rapace), which brings around her ex-boyfriend, the near-psychotic Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts). Also, to make matters worse, he and Marv’s place ends up getting robbed, which means that they have to find a way to pay the owners back, or else they’ll be sleeping with the fishes. And if things couldn’t get even worse for these two fellas, a local detective (John Ortiz) starts sticking his nose in certain places that comes a little too close to comfort for both of them.

What we have here is another one of those simple crime-thriller dramas that, on paper, don’t really seem like much: Quiet dude finds dog, quiet takes dog in, quiet dude falls in love with dog, quiet dude’s life suddenly becomes a whole lot of hell. That sounds boring and, like I noted before, on paper, it probably would be. However, that’s what happens when you’re able to transport something to the silver screen, where you not only having somebody direct others about how certain scenes are supposed to sound or look, but also those “others” being some very talented actors and actresses that can jump into any role, without ever making us second-guess their casting decision.

Oldest trick in the book. Oh, Tom Hardy. You snake, you.

Oldest trick in the book. Oh, Tom Hardy. You snake, you.

I’m rambling on so much like this because it’s so very often I get a small, intimate movie such as this, that doesn’t feel like it’s being that way due to budget-constraints. There are so many movies out there (aka, indies), that feel like they have a small scope because they can’t go anywhere else. Here however, director Michaël R. Roskam keeps his story tiny, because that’s what it exactly is: A small crime-tale of a bunch of thugs, low-life’s and simple do-gooders that just can’t help but be taken down by the world they live in.

And that’s why most of the Drop works; whenever it pays close attention to these characters, their connections to one another and what makes them who they are, the movie stays interesting. They’re not the best-written characters in the whole world, but they’re done well enough to where you can find a little something to sympathize with in each and everyone of them. Then again though, it’s also easy to be able to distrust some of them too and realize that while on the surface, they may be fine, simple-minded people, deep down inside, underneath all of the tucks and turns, they can be really mean, almost savage-like people. They can easily do the wrong thing, to the wrong person, and continue to move on with their lives as is, even if it does beat them up inside. They’re just trying to survive in a world that, for the most part, could live on without them.

Sounds like some pretty sad, mopey stuff to deal with here, but I can assure you, the movie’s not nearly as dark as I present it to be. There is some humor to be found and when the actual crime-angle of this story starts to develop, there can be some fun to be found. However, the double-edged sword here is that while it may be fun to watch a bunch of gangsters go around, shooting, killing and yelling obscenities at one another, it doesn’t really add up to much like the character-based drama does. Still though, I can’t complain too much because while there is plenty of moments just simply dedicated to people doing bad things, there are still more than a few scenes where it’s just two characters getting to know one another better and for me, that was always something to watch and listen to. Even if, sometimes, it didn’t pan-out to much in the end other than being “bad guy”, “good guy”.

And a lot of that credit deserves to go towards Roskam, who got a very good cast together and allowed them to just sink their teeth into some small, bare-bones material we don’t see too often from these actors. Tom Hardy is doing that silent-yet-demanding thing he does in most of his movies, and while he has to do it this time with a New York-accent, the guy handles it very well. We get the feeling right away that this character is a good guy, but we also understand that there may be some darkness lying underneath it all and Hardy’s to thank for making us think that each and everytime this character’s morals get called into question.

I don't know who's scarier.

I don’t know who’s scarier.

Even Noomi Rapace does a fine job playing something of New York white trash, even if she has to do the accent, too. She’s nice enough to where you could see why some normal, everyday dude would want to take a run at her, but you can also tell that she’s been through a whole heck of a lot in her life as is, so she won’t put up with it anymore. Her and Hardy develop a nice bit of chemistry that definitely seems like it’s going to lead some heavy foreplay, and to just watch as they both wonder how to go about it is neat, especially since these characters both seem to know what they want, they just don’t know to go about getting it from the other.

You know, much like how most of my relationships with the opposite-sex are!

Anyway, most of the spotlight is being put on this film because it just so happens to feature the final performance from one James Gandolfini and honestly, it’s a great swan song for him to go out on. It’s not the most perfect performance he’s ever done and it sure as hell isn’t much different from his days as Tony Soprano, but it’s the kind of role that makes us look at Gandolfini and realize what a talent he truly was. He was mean and nasty when he wanted to scare a room full of children, but he could also lighten any mood of a scene with that big grin of his. But no matter what, you always knew that there was more to his character than what he was presenting, which is why it was always a pleasure of watching him just act; something he definitely seemed perfectly suited to do right from the very start.

Consensus: The crime-thriller aspects of the Drop may not always mesh very well with the character-based ones, but nonetheless, it’s still an interesting watch, especially if you want to see some great actors put in some wonderful work. And most of all, if you want to see James Gandolfini’s final role ever on film.

8 /10 = Matinee!!

Aw, wook at him! Sorry, Tom. You lose this time.

Aw, wook at him! Sorry, Tom. You lose this time.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

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15 responses to “The Drop (2014)

  1. elina September 12, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Great review! Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace? I’m in!

  2. #peggyatthemovies September 12, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Love it!! Loved the movie.. once again…we pretty much agree on everything about it. That’s why I love reading your reviews.. 😀 Cheers! http://peggyatthemovies.com/2014/09/11/review-of-the-drop-fox-searchlight/

  3. Joseph@thecinemamonster September 12, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Great review Dan, totally agree. Not the strongest crime-thriller, but the performances are top-notch and the content is enthralling enough. Kind of reminds me of “Killing Them Softly” style-wise, not so political however.

  4. Zoë September 12, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Hadn’t even really heard much about this, but looks like it is certainly worth looking into! Great work Dan!

  5. Three Rows Back September 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Looks great. Smart review Dan as always.

  6. Pingback: The Drop (2014) | Tinseltown Times

  7. Tom September 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Certainly was a solid crime thriller man, but I actually thought the characterization and the dramatic bits meshed together extremely effectively. There weren’t so many jaw-droppingly violent moments as I was expecting, but this was top-tier stuff. I would really like to check out Bullhead now. Great review

  8. Front Roe Films September 13, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    I shall check this movie out.

  9. JustMeMike September 14, 2014 at 2:55 am

    As Dan says this a small film without the explosions and car chases. You watch it for the actors doing their thing. The story isnt that much to write home about eitherm but that doesn’;y meamn there;s not much to see and like. .I was really impressed with the work of Hardy, Gandolfini, and John Otiz as the detective. The comment above that says this reminded him of Killing Them Softly is spot on.

  10. thomasjford September 14, 2014 at 7:02 am

    I only heard about this the other day when I saw it on IMDb. Hardy and Gandolfini, can’t go wrong!

  11. Chris September 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Nice review, Dan. Definitely a good acting showcase. Hardy continues to impress. 🙂

  12. bryanbuser September 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I saw this in the theater yesterday afternoon and really, really enjoyed it. Hardy was awesome. I loved the gritty NYC landscape. I had to remember when the movie ended that I would not be walking out into winter. The movie had me convinced for awhile that it was actually the end of January.

  13. Kristin September 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    This is another movie I really want to see, with your review being another one recommending it! Definitely makes me sad thinking of James Gandolfini. Nice review, Dan!

  14. guysfilmquest September 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Good review, Dan! I just got back from seeing it, and I was impressed. Not quite the film I thought it would be, but I really liked it.

  15. 55theintimidator55 September 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I didn’t think this looked that interesting. Your review has made me consider seeing it when it comes out on DVD.

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