Sunday, September 21, 2014

Movie with Abe: The Drop

The Drop
Directed by Michael R. Roskam
Released September 12, 2014

Sometimes a film recommends itself based on the merits of the person who wrote it. Boston native Dennis Lehane penned three novels which were then put on the big screen – “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” For the first time, Lehane has adapted his own work, this time a short story set in New York City, with similar themes, about people eternally entrenched in crime just trying to get on the right track. Unfortunately, Lehane’s latest effort and this film as a whole is a severe disappointment, offering just a glimmer of the grandeur of his previous work.

In “The Drop,” Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is a mild-mannered bartender at Cousin Marv’s, a bar owned by his cousin, appropriately named Marv (James Gandolfini), who years earlier was forced to hand over ownership of the bar to the local mob because of increased debt. One night, the bar is held up, and the small amount of money taken begins to haunt Bob and Marv. At the same time, Bob meets Nadia (Noomi Rapace) when he finds a wounded dog in her trash can and adopts it, though its previos abusive owner isn’t so willing to part with it. These plot points have the making of a good story, but instead of taking off and being original, it remains flat, forced, and fully uncreative.

The cast of “The Drop” is just as promising as its writer, and it’s a shame that they can’t live up to expectations either. Tom Hardy is a fabulous actor who first broke out as the eccentric protagonist of “Bronson” and has since appeared in “Inception,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” and more. Here, he masks his British accent with a thick New York drawl, which has the effect of rendering him bland, making him one-note and absent of any energy or personality. Gandolfini, who is no stranger to such roles, gives his final performance in a part that doesn’t give him much to work with and doesn’t compare to his charming nature in “Enough Said” or his most classic performance as Tony Soprano. Rapace, who has been cast in a number of English-language films since “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” probably wasn’t the right choice to play a character whose presence doesn’t ever really make sense in this story.

A theoretically intriguing beginning doesn’t lead to much in this film, and, what’s worse, the film takes a somewhat unexpected turn in its third act that leads to a convoluted and far from satisfactory finale that doesn’t track with everything that leads up to it. The film’s title is only half-appropriate, and this feels like a fleeting excerpt from a man’s life that likely has much more interesting other parts. This is not the finest work from this writer or these actors, and it’s a crime entry hardly worthy of comparison to other films of the same genre.


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