4 December 2015 | blanche-2
tense, dark, and James Gandolfini's last performance
Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Naomi Rapace, and Matthias Schoenaerts star in "The Drop" from 2014. With a script written by Dennis Lehane, good direction by Michael R. Roskam, and brilliant acting, this is an excellent film.
Bob Saginowski (Hardy) works at a bar formerly owned by his cousin Marv (Gandolfini), now mob-run, which means that every once in a while, the bar is the drop for the mob's collections.
When masked men hold up the bar and get $5,000, Bob has to find a way to make it up - it's the night's take; the mob money was already collected. To the chagrin of Marv, Bob tells a police detective (John Ortiz) a little too much, giving him a clue to finding the crooks.
When Bob finds a pit bull puppy in the trash, he befriends the woman who lives in the house, Nadia (Rapace) who tends to the dog, which is wounded, and helps Bob buy supplies, etc.
Then a man shows up, a psycho named Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts), claiming that the dog is his and wanting him back. Bob refuses. One night he realizes Deeds has been in his house; then he finds out that he has a connection with Nadia.
This is the story of two pit bulls - Bob and his dog, Rocco. I'm assuming the script was written with the impression that pit bulls are vicious. Pit bulls are not inherently vicious; they are trained to be, and even then, they can be retrained and make great pets. Pit bulls want to please their masters. Watch Pit Bulls and Parolees some time.
Anyway, the script wasn't written with that in mind, but with the mistaken reputation of pit bulls, I think. Bob is a quiet man who comes off as sweet and unassuming, but inside he has a strength no one could believe from his exterior. And Rocco, an adorable pup, beaten and thrown in the trash, has the right stuff as well, surviving a miserable beginning.
Tom Hardy is magnificent as Bob - totally American; he is truly film's male chameleon, believable as a quiet bartender who tries to stay out of the way.
Gandolfini, in his last performance, is great - he has a monologue toward the end of the film that is quite powerful - he's a man who has seen his dreams shattered and chosen the wrong road. Rapace is perfect a Nadia, a wounded woman who wants to be close but whose suspicions get in the way. As Eric Deeds, Matthias Schoenaerts will keep you on the edge of your seat. He speaks softly but you're never sure what he's going to do next.
I think the performances are better than the film and raise it to a higher level. It's a good movie, and a dark one, but in the hands of other actors could easily have been written off, given that the story is derivative.
"The Drop" is a must see if you're a James Gandolfini fan and to see the amazing Tom Hardy. And Rocco, a puppy star.