The Drop

Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood's past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living - no matter the cost.


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  • ★★★★ review by Keith on Letterboxd

    Where Killing Them Softly slogged through dull monologues and heavy handed allegory and where Out of the Furnace depended on convenient tragedies and unlikely relationships, The Drop is a lean, calmly paced, dive-y crime drama.

    Tom Hardy sparkles as the stilted, soft-spoken bartender, but seriously why are folks still going into business with the Chechen mob?

  • ★★★★½ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd

    Everybody has a past.

    -Bob Saginowski

    It's already been over a year since the passing of James Gandolfini and now the inevitable has happened with his final film performance now playing in theaters. It's hard getting passed that going into this viewing. "Gandolfini's FINAL movie". Going into it maybe, but once those opening credits role the film quickly grabs you and those thoughts dissipate. It has much more going for it then being a great actor's final performance.

    It's not a knock against James Gandolfini's performance here, because he gives a great one. He simply isn't the star of the film and although he is fantastic in the movie, it's a role we already knew he could play, in his sleep maybe. It doesn't make it any less entertaining. It's like watching The Rolling Stones latest live performance of Angie, sure it's old hat but it doesn't make it any less special.

    The real star of the film, and he easily runs away with it, is Tom Hardy. I think one of the hardest characters to pull off in film are complex ones that are simplistic on the surface. Pulling those off while making it seem natural without giving too much away takes a real actor and Tom Hardy is such an actor.

    It probably ends up being one of my favorite performances of the year as Hardy seems to completely lose himself in Bob Saginowski. It's not just his perfect Brooklyn accent, or his mannerisms, or his posture... it is EVERYTHING and then some put together. There isn't a moment in the film where he is not Bob. From the big ones where he is struggling for words in a conversation with Nadia to him simply washing a glass in the bar. Tom Hardy simply doesn't exist in this film, there is only Bob.

    Nadia is of course played by Noomi Rapace who I just can't get enough of since the first time I saw her, like most of the world, in the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Her rapport with Hardy on screen is just fantastic. It's not that it's hot on screen chemistry, it's rather fantastic realistic chemistry. Like watching two damaged people who are clearly attracted to each other but are also scared to take any sort of initiative towards the other because such things never end well for them. Simply making a connection with another person seems to be all they currently need.

    Of course you also have Matthias Schoenaerts as Eric Deeds. Thanks to his performance, Dennis Lehane's writing and the direction of Michaël R. Roskam the film pulls off something that most Hollywood films forget they can do. That's introduce a dangerous character through nuance and dialogue without resorting to simple violence. It's not to say there is no violence in the film, but you simply understand what the character of Eric Deeds is about long before violence becomes part of the equation.

    Looks like I'm going to have to score the film higher then I had originally thought because after writing all this I realize that I loved every single moment of this film. The entire movie is like the Bob Saginowski character and has much more going on then it's simplistic surface would suggest.

  • ★★★★½ review by Ryan Francis on Letterboxd

    Tom Hardy can do no wrong. Especially while cradling a puppy in his jacket.

  • ★★★★ review by Esteban Gonzalez on Letterboxd

    “There are some sins that you commit that you can't come back from, you know, no matter how hard you try. You just can't.”

    The Drop is my kind of film and that is why I am able to look past the predictability of the story and simply enjoy the movie for what it is: a low level gangster film with an outstanding cast. If you are the kind of person who prefers spectacular car chases and heavy shooting in thrillers than The Drop definitely isn’t for you because it is a slow burner that requires patience from the viewers. It is more interested in establishing who these characters are and setting the atmosphere and tone of the movie than in focusing on the action scenes. It doesn’t discard the banality of these gangsters day to day life so at times the viewer might feel that it is an ordinary and boring film, but if you stick with the story the ending definitely pays off. I enjoyed that slow buildup and didn’t mind it at all because I loved how the story focused on Tom Hardy’s character arc and was drawn to his performance. The Drop is based on Dennis Lehane’s short story, Animal Resuce, and the screenplay was also adapted by him so I had confidence in the story that was being told. Lehane has written some of my favorite crime thrillers (Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River) so I knew he was going to deliver once again. It might just be another crime thriller that doesn’t stand out from other films in the genre, but if you are a fan of these stories you will have a great time with The Drop.

    The Drop is directed by Michael Roskam and despite not being as groundbreaking as his Oscar nominated Belgian film, Bullhead, it is still one of the best thrillers of the year thanks to the wonderful performances from the cast and the attention to details of the Brooklyn scene. In The Drop Tom Hardy stars as a lonely bartender named Bob. Along with his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) they run things at a local bar as a cover for dangerous Chechen gangsters. This is just one of the many bars the Chechens use as a cover to drop off all the money from the night’s criminal activities in one place. There are some strong supporting performances from John Ortiz who plays a detective investigating a robbery that takes place in Marv’s bar, Noomi Rapace who thanks to the help of an abandoned puppy warms up to Bob’s lonely persona, and Matthias Schoenaerts a low life criminal trying to con Bob using the puppy. As you can tell the puppy plays an important role in this film and there is something symbolic about its presence in the way it changes Bob’s social life. It’s the cutest puppy I’ve seen on film this year.

    The greatest thing about The Drop is without a doubt Tom Hardy’s lead performance. Hardy is establishing himself as my favorite actor. He is such a versatile actor and in this film he reminded me a lot Gosling’s character in Drive. He is sort of retracted and silent, but he conveys so much without saying anything. His character arc is what drives this film. Another reason to watch The Drop is that it’s James Gandolfini’s final performance. He passed away a month after having finished shooting this film. We’ve seen him play this role many times in the past, but he does it so well that I found it a fitting farewell. Schoenaerts is excellent and Rapace plays these dark roles to perfection. John Ortiz also has some interesting scenes and I was glad to see Ann Dowd have a small role as well. I wish she had more screen time. The Drop is worth watching for the cast alone, but it also has a smart screenplay and an interesting atmospheric tone. It’s short of being a masterpiece, but it still is a wonderful film.

  • ★★★★ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd

    TIFF 2014 Film #18

    Reason for pick : Director Michaël R. Roskam , Bullhead

    A Brit, two Belgians, a Swede, a Pit Bull, and Tony Soprano walk into a bar….


    The punch line is one of the tautest, slow burning, mob thrillers in recent memory. While the setup may be mildly familiar, the execution is what makes The Drop the entertaining success it is. Even though it relies on an expositional speech to finally drive home the point, that speech was both flawlessly executed and entirely entertaining to watch. The action that immediately followed that speech had the TIFF crowd at our screening squealing, cheering, and clapping with delight.

    As for the cast, I was flabbergasted, but mainly after we got out of the show and we started discussing among ourselves. Tom Hardy .. I knew the name, but couldn’t connect it. I had seen Inception and Bronson, but didn’t recognize him at all here. His portrayal of our protagonist, Bob, is gentle and nuanced, complete with a pitch perfect Brooklyn accent. Noomi Rapace. Ok, I recognize her. She’s the one from Fincher’s remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo .. that New York actress … shit! .. no, that’s Rooney Mara .. OK, I can kind of understand a Brit being able to nail a Brooklyn accent, but a Swede? It’s not just the accent, it’s the mannerisms, that certain toughness that was so convincing, .. Rapace just nailed it. Enter Rapace’s psycho ex. Now, I know this guy has to be some American actor .. wait, what? This was the guy from Rust and Bone? My head is spinning.

    I enjoyed James Gandolfini in Enough Said. It was a lovely and sensitive performance that was completely against type. It was a reminder that he was more than just a one note actor. However, I think everyone was secretly hoping that we’d get one more glance of Tony. Gandolfini’s Cousin Marv isn't Tony Soprano. He’s a character who wanted to be Tony Soprano. This is really a double treat. We see him live in that space once again, but from a different perspective. Brooklyn accent kind of weak, though, compared to the Brit, Belgian, and Swede ;)

    I think the largest heap of praise has to go to Belgium director Michaël R. Roskam. To nail a uniquely American genre with your first English Language picture is quite the accomplishment.

    I’m terrified of Pit Bulls, but I have to admit that was one cute puppy.

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