Front Row at the Movies
“The Drop” Drops A Crime Drama On You
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
My son lives in Brooklyn and sometimes we go drinking in neighborhood bars. Most are fairly genteel, but some are working-class joints where gritty men down shots and beers and ignore any questionable activities going on around them.
Cousin Marvin’s Place is just such a bar in the new movie “The Drop.” It’s called that because Chechen mobsters drop off money to be laundered through the bar.
Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is the bartender, out to keep his nose clean. Looking the other way when things go down. Marv (the late James Gandolfini) is the guy who used to own the place, but now just manages it. The patrons are from central casting: A questioning police detective, a philosophical gangster, a motley collection of small-time hoods, various blue-collar guys wearing Giants jackets, and Marv’s fed-up sister, among others.
Yes, there’s more to Bob the bartender than meets the eye. He adopts an injured pit bull pup that he finds in a trash can, takes up with a woman (Noomi Rapace) who used to work at the animal shelter, and has reasons he doesn’t go to confession. When a psychotic killer (Matthias Schoenaerts) shows up on her doorstep, Bob must make some decisions. Perhaps it’s symbolic that his new pup is a breed known to suddenly turn vicious.
The plot hinges on two masked robbers who decide to stick up the bar, a bad call which sets things in motion better left undisturbed. Like a murder that took place ten years earlier.
“The Drop” is currently making its noirish appearance at the Tropic Cinema. This taut crime thriller is based on a short story (“Animal Rescue”) by Dennis Lehane. His writing has been the basis for such terrific films as “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” In fact, he wrote this screenplay.
Belgian director Michael R. Roskam (“Bullhead”) tends to wind up his actors and let them have at it. But that’s okay. After all, this glimpse of a mythic Brooklyn underworld is less important than watching Hardy and Gandolfini do their thing.