Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Drop

A simpleton (Tom Hardy) tends bar for his oafish cousin's (James Gandolfini) hole in the wall establishment which fronts as a drop site for laundered mob money, along with several similar locations in its Brooklyn neighborhood. When a staged robbery attracts the attention of both law enforcement and the pub's Russian mafia backers, the barkeep must play a delicate balancing act while simultaneously dealing with a psychopath (Matthias Schoenaerts) who threatens both his new lady friend (Noomi Rapace) and recently acquired pit bull. From a short story and screenplay from Dennis Lehane, who leaves the streets of Boston but tries to salvage much of his material that worked in past successes (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), The Drop is at once a gritty crime story, a romantic comedy, and underdog story that shows promise for a spell but ultimately suffers from its tonal identity crisis, awkward dialogue, plotting and stylistic choices, and a laughable villainous presence from Schoenaerts. Tom Hardy's performance is a highlight and departure from his usual offerings and Rapace, John Ortiz, and James Gandolfini (in his final performance) do their best with underdeveloped characters.
** 1/2 out of ****