Are you a fan of movies where pretty much everyone is haunted by the decisions they’ve made in life? Are you okay with the constant threat of what some may deem slightly graphic violence? (I might not deem it too graphic but I see a lot of movies.) And do you enjoy Tom Hardy playing a stoic, soft-spoken man who you just know is going to do a bad, bad thing to someone at some point?
Well, then I think The Drop is going to be right up your alley. The script is based on a short story, both written by Dennis Lehane. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he wrote Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. Hell, if you really want a doozy of an interesting movie marathon, try those two along with The Drop and see if your urge to down a few shots of whiskey and sleep with a gun under your pillow rises to unhealthy levels. Needless to say, Lehane deals in some dark stuff but he always manages to weave a sense of morality into the awful acts so many of the characters perform. Sure, it’s basically street justice but there’s an admirable searching for redemption element that comes through in all of his scripts and somehow you find yourself rooting at times for people you wouldn’t want to live in your neighborhood, let alone have a casual drink with at the bar during Monday Night Football.
But I digress.
Look, I had forgotten I saw the trailer for this movie months ago and only saw fit to check it out because of my high esteem for the actors: Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini. Seriously, that’s worth the price of admission on its own. Learning that the project came from the virtual typewriter of Lehane only sweetens the pot.
As expected, the acting is spot on. Every character, no matter how “significant”, serves a purpose and is given a genuine quality by the actors that root the film in a tangible, albeit seedy, environment that both captivates and repulses you at the same time. Hardy and Gandolfini have done similar work before but are so fit for the task that it’s simply a joy to watch them. Rapace also treads on some familiar ground but she has such a great capacity to exhibit both fierceness and vulnerability, all in the same beat; it’s truly astounding.
Now, I don’t think this movie is quite for everyone. It’s a crime drama, with only Rapace and a cute pit bull puppy as elements of the film one might truly describe as likable. Sure, you want someone like Hardy to be your friend but the balancing act his character performs throughout the movie is that beautiful mix of virtuous, dangerous, and unpredictable that makes watching films like this such fun for those of us who enjoy the genre. It just may be a bit too much for people who want a more black and white definition of good and bad. Their loss, I say.
On the negative side, there is a strong sense of been there/done that with a tale like this and I didn’t find the supposed “reveal” to be all that surprising. As such, if you’re looking for an organized crime tale to watch, I might say my first recommendation of films in recent years would still be Killing Them Softly – which I find to be seriously underrated and overlooked. With that said, since you’ve already seen Guardians of the Galaxy a few times, and there’s nothing in a mainstream theaters otherwise worth two shekels at the moment, I’d like to think the more savvy filmgoer will think about spending their time and money on something like The Drop before succumbing to whatever other fluff is out there at the moment. Then again, I’d like to think we’ll never see another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles produced by Michael Bay. So apparently, I just like to think things.
The Drop is rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language.
– Reviewed by Ian Forbes
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