The Drop is a simmering and intense crime drama. ‘Cousin Marv’ is played by James Gandolfini, in his last role, as the owner of a bar frequently used as a ‘drop’ or a place where money is passed through as part of a money-laundering scheme. Tom Hardy stars as Bob, a quiet and perhaps even seemingly slow bartender.
If Bob has anything approaching a catch phrase for this film, it would be “I just tend the bar.” When being questioned as to whether he has anything to do with the drops, he says “I’m just a bartender.” When it’s about whether he’s anything like the Chechen gangsters who actually run the bar, he answers “I just tend the bar.” And as the movie goes on and you’re drawn into the story and learn, bit by bit, why the characters act the way they do, that idea takes on different meanings. Is he just a lunk of a bartender who has the unfortunate task of having to work for mobsters? Is it possible to just go through this sort of life and be unaffected by the things that other people do around you? The way the movie reveals these details of the story and character is masterful.
And while there’s not much violence in the movie, the constant threat of it is palpable. These characters are always aware that someone could end it all. So much so that when the few moments of violence do happen, they’re that much more effective and shocking.
In addition to Hardy and Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace stars as a sort of romantic interest but one who’s life is more intertwined than it first appears. That she’s a Swedish actress and the director Michael R. Roskam is from Belgium yet the performances and film feels entirely ‘Brooklyn’ is also a testament to their skills.
The Drop starts Friday, September 12. Find Movie Times here.