The Drop is one of those little crime thrillers that comes out and no one really hears about it and you aren’t sure why it was made. Possibly the studio thought it could grab some award love or something, but nothing is actually going to come out of it. This is too bad because Tom Hardy gives a performance that you could never see coming from the man.
The Drop sadly isn’t up to its star’s performance, but that only makes Hardy stand out more. There is nothing more fantastic than watching an actor completely embody a role. There are few things more upsetting than watching the movie surrounding it never match it.
Michaël R. Roskam
Release Date: September 12, 2014
The Drop is definitely a small feeling movie. They push it as a crime thriller, but really its more of a character study on Tom Hardy’s Bob. Bob is a barkeep in the bar owned by his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini). Marv use to be a bit of a mob boss, but he was pushed out by a foreign gang and now the bar acts as a drop spot for illegal gambling. It’s often hard to tell where the film is going and who were supposed to be fighting against as the story unfolds and Bob finds a puppy in the trash can of Nadia (Noomi Rapace). The two kindle a kind of romance as her ex starts to stalk Bob and the bar gets robbed.
The movie, far from being an actual thriller, is more about Bob and who he is. As the light plot unrolls were treated to less tension and more mystery. Bob seems a little simple and straightforward, but there’s something underneath there. As the story unfolds the complexity of the character does as well. The unfortunate thing is that the film doesn’t always want to be a character study and veers towards crime thriller ever so often. It veers too much, taking us through a few too many twists and turns instead of delivering its strongest aspect, Bob.
Tom Hardy is a revelation in the role. If you now him as an actor you could barely expect that he could pull off the shy, off-kilter New Yorker that is Bob, but he is completely transformed from the guy we know as Bane. His eyes constantly shift, unable to make contacting with anyone else. He’s smaller and removed and yet still a presence on screen and he deftly handles a character that is layered. In the hands of another actor Bob’s story would seem contrived — and then the movie would have really not worked — but Hardy turns a caricature into a human with his performance. It is stunning to watch.
Nothing else in the film is as stunning. Roskam’s subdued direction doesn’t do anything to get in the way, but it certainly doesn’t help out either. Things often feel flat, especially after the film reaches its apex and we’re winding down. There’s nothing else there to make the movie pop up despite a strong performance from Gandolfini. Rapace is present, but her role gets a bit too confused as the film goes on. Thankfully Hardy is there to ground it all in his character. A detective character played by John Ortiz also feels very out of place and simply an excuse to progress the plot and say meaningful things every once in a while. Structurally the film has issues like this as it tries to inject crime Thriller aspects in.
This is not to say that the movie is bad at all. As a character study it could be pushing towards great, but as a crime thriller it simply sits too much. Hardy is the key, though. He takes the movie to a level where I would easily recommend seeing it even if you I don’t think it’s the best thing out there.
And if you need more convincing there’s an adorable puppy. Everyone loves puppies.