The Drop (Fox Searchlight Pictures, R)

The-Drop 75I would definitely recommend seeing The Drop, to enjoy Gandolfini on the big screen at least, if for nothing else.

The-Drop 500

Coming from Michaël R. Roskam, the Academy Award-nominated director of Bullhead, and based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (the writer of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island), we get a new crime drama set in the cold streets of Brooklyn, that really doesn’t let us rest even for a full minute. Caught up in a twisted money-laundering business, we follow the lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) with whom we get dragged into the dark, scheming game of robbery played by his own cousin and employer Marv (the late James Gandolfini) at what was once his, now the mob’s underground, cash-funneling “Drop Bar.”

The movie does a particularly good job of portraying Brooklyn as a very chilly place, physically as well as internally. The area is under the controlling hand of Chechnyan gangsters who add even more texture to the already icy story, emphasized with their authentic Balkan accents. If it weren’t for the rescued and totally adorable pit-bull puppy Roco, there would virtually be no light scenes in this film. Amazing performances from the whole cast, especially Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) keep us on the edge of our seats the entire 105 minutes we watch them on screen. Every time I thought I had it figured out and tried boxing the film up thinking it was predictable, a new plot twist left me hanging and made me change my mind very quickly.

As much as investigating the mob, it’s pocketing of money, and the murders that come with it seems like it might be enough for a modern crime story, the subplot digs even deeper under our skin. Developing more or less through simple, unforced dialogue and facial expressions, the film lets us in on Bob and his back story, repeatedly pointing at the fact that past sins can come back and haunt you very easily.

I also appreciated the handsomely simple cinematography by Nicolas Karakatsanis (who also served as Roskam’s DP on Bullhead). I feel like not many movies made these days use simple shots like he does, at most playing with focus. No extreme, long, or forced shooting scenes also benefit the plot; I think we have all seen enough of that in crime and gangster movies already, and it’s nice to watch something different.

Naturally, I have to mention how pleasant it was to watch James Gandolfini’s final presence on screen. So much as a chuckle, sigh, or a mean eye he throws adds so much to the film; he will be greatly missed. I would definitely recommend seeing The Drop, to enjoy Gandolfini on the big screen at least, if for nothing else. | Lea Vrábelová

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