I always wanted to be a bartender. They know everybody in the neighborhood, they hear the craziest stories from their all too friendly bar patrons, and they have a quiet patience about them. Tom Hardy makes a convincing and even keeled bartender in The Drop. After seeing Locke, I'm convinced Hardy is steadily becoming on par with Daniel Day Lewis in terms of character acting. That's mad props because I love me some Daniel Day Lewis. While I'm dishing out the compliments, Director Michael R. Roskam is putting together a nice little filmography, and after watching Bullhead it's safe to say no one does subtlety as beautifully as Roskam. With The Drop it's more of the same, violent back stories and seedy characters make for better cinema than showing bloodshed on screen. He may have taken notes from the some other great film makers the Cohen Brothers.
Now about the film, The Drop is based on the short story "Animal Rescue" by Denis Lehane, the author who brought us other great crime dramas such as Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. Lehane takes his talents to Brooklyn with this one and also takes a stab at screenwriting for the silver screen. Tom Hardy handles both narration and the main protagonist in Bob, a quiet mild-mannered bartender who works at Cousin Marv's, run by you guessed it"¦ Cousin Marv, played by the late James Gandolfini. The bar itself is no longer owned by Marv but instead a group of Chechen mobsters who periodically siphon their dirty money through the bar"”this money is referred to as drop money. Bob shows quiet strength throughout the film, and you get the feeling it isn't his first rodeo. His strength is tested numerous times after a robbery at the bar and numerous threats from Eric Deeds, a mobster who is recently out of the psych ward, who may or may not have killed a bar patron last seen at Cousin Marv's. Bob shows his charming side when it comes to his new neighbor Nadia (Rapace) who even helps him raise an abandoned pitbull.
Overall, Gandolfini played the character Marv to a T. Although it was a solid role, I wouldn't say its Oscar-worthy. As far as the script goes, you can tell it's based on a short story. At a breezy hour and 45 minutes, I felt as if the storyline could have gone on for another hour. There is something to marvel at when it comes to a slow burning mob film, like a French Connection or Godfather type, but The Drop doesn't quite get there. It was missing that IT factor. All in all, I recommend this for the acting put on display by all everyone involved, but the story seems rehashed from something I've seen before.