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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Gandolfini takes last bow in ‘The Drop’


    Courtesy of Chernin Entertainment

    “The Drop” is a crime drama with enough character and twists to place it above the average crime drama, but its two perfectly cast leads propel it even further.

    Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is an unassuming barkeep at Brooklyn’s hole-in-the-wall bar, Cousin Marvin’s.

    As he does with all of his roles, Hardy, one of today’s best character actors, adopts unique mannerisms for Bob. He speaks softly and bumbles occasionally. His uninflected, straightforward intonations always seem to be leading to more, and then abruptly stop. It’s distracting, but that’s exactly what the film calls for: disarmament.

    If you’re familiar with the 2012 film “Lawless,” Bob reminds me of Hardy’s turn as moonshiner Forrest Bondurant, another deceivingly soft man in a hard environment.

    What makes Bob even more of a curious oddity is his environment. You see, Cousin Marvin’s isn’t just some local watering hole. It’s a “drop” bar.

    On any given night, the bar becomes the hot spot where all of the illegal money of the city is surreptitiously passed from patron to barkeep, and then later to the resident Chechen gangsters. Because you can’t just put dirty money in the bank, right?
    Bob doesn’t consider himself part of that underworld, though. He just “tends the bar,” puts the drop money in the safe and doesn’t bloody his hands. Still, for being on the straight and narrow, Bob can wrap a severed arm in Saran wrap a little too well.

    Bob’s employer and literal cousin, Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), actually used to own the bar with his name on it and reap the drop money, but the Chechens strong-armed him out a while back. People used to respect him, but now the bags under his eyes and his graying hair underscore the impotence he lives with everyday.

    “The Drop” marks Gandolfini’s final appearance in a feature film after his untimely death in 2013, and his career ends with nothing other than a crime drama. Gandolfini delivers Cousin Marv with vulnerability; a man whose dissatisfaction with life has made him almost pitifully weary.

    With Hardy as the lead and Gandolfini the support, this is a perfectly cast film.

    Through happenstance, Bob meets two souls that break up his solitary life: an abused, abandoned baby pit bull that he names Rocco and Nadia (Noomi Rapace), a young woman in his neighborhood.

    Bob takes the dog in but has no clue what to do with it and enlists Nadia’s assistance. The three of them start a relationship; the dog isn’t some throw-element just so the two humans can meet. Rocco actually plays a large role in the film, giving this crime-chronicle another welcomed wrinkle. I’d also be remiss not to mention Rapace’s performance as the broken-yet-outgoing Nadia.

    Two masked, armed gunmen hold up the bar one night, setting things into motion. Detective Torres (John Ortis) investigates the robbery. He’s heard some rumors here and there about Cousin Marv’s not being on the up and up, so he’s keen to not write this robbery off as a coincidence.

    Torres never poses as a real threat, and when he pops in from time-to-time to supposedly provide some heat on our characters, it’s not very interesting. Whenever the film picked his thread up, I wanted to get back to the other characters as soon as possible.

    The film is the adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 2009 short story, “Animal Rescue.” Lehane also penned “Gone, Baby, Gone” and “Shutter Island,” so twists and revelations are to be expected. The ending is a wonderful, stop-in-your-tracks shock.

    When he sees Rocco, Detective Torres says how he’s a “good-looking dog.” After a second appraisal, he smirks and says, almost incredulously, that Rocco is a “real good-looking dog.”

    That about sums up my assessment of “The Drop.” After I saw it, I thought it was a good movie. Writing this review, however, has made me realize it’s actually a “real good” movie.

    Grade: B

    —Follow Alex Guyton @GuyTonAlexAnder

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