Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Drop

05:00 September 12, 2014
By: Fritz Esker

Released over a year after James Gandolfini’s death, The Drop is a solid sendoff for the late star of The Sopranos.

The film’s protagonist is Bob (Tom Hardy), the bartender at a bar called Cousin Marv’s (Gandolfini plays Marv).  Marv was a tough guy in his younger days, but the Chechen mafia moved into town and strong-armed his business from him.  Now, it serves as a temporary bank (the “drop” of the title) for mobsters’ illegally obtained money.  One night, two armed robbers take the cash and the Chechens want answers.

While Bob is helping Marv cope with this issue, he’s also struggling with the psychotic ex-boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) of his potential love interest (Noomi Rapace).  The script was written by acclaimed mystery novelist Dennis Lehane, and like any good mystery novel, seemingly disparate plot threads aren’t as unrelated as they seem.

The twists of the story aren’t shockers, but most of the time movies that rely on out-of-nowhere surprises make little to no sense by their conclusion.  The Drop steadily builds to its climax, culminating in what would have been a terrific final line and scene…only to add one more scene after that.  The coda feels tacked-on and slightly undermines what preceded it, but it’s not a backbreaking error.

Hardy turns in strong work as the film’s tortured center.  Gandolfini’s role is a little like a gone-to-seed Tony Soprano, someone who once was respected by tough guys, but isn’t anymore and he’s still bitter about it.  It may not be his signature performance (The Sopranos or last year’s Enough Said are his two best), but it’s a fine one.

Fans of crime films/fiction will likely enjoy The Drop, a nice transition from the blockbusters/reboots of summer to the meatier fare of the fall.

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