**INDIE FILM REVIEW** “The Drop”

Good evening readers!  As the first day of the new week is coming to a close, I knew I needed to take this time to post the OTHER film I managed to fit in yesterday evening.  As I always am on the watch for indie/small budget films that I feel have potential to come along to local theaters, it drives me NUTS when I am afraid I will miss the chance to actually SEE them, as so often they disappear rather quickly. Fortunately, that was NOT the case for this one, I can FINALLY bring you my thoughts on “The Drop”.

The Drop   SEE THE TRAILER HERE

Being only the second major film effort by director Michael R. Roskam, and based on the short story “Animal Rescue” by writer/producer Dennis Lehane, this edgy tale takes us into the depths of Brooklyn, New York and into the life of bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) who works at Cousin Marv’s Bar alongside it’s owner (imagine this) Cousin Marv (the late James Gandolfini in his final appearance).  While it SEEMS like an honest enough and quiet enough locale, under it all lies one of real stories behind the place….it is a “drop bar”, where money changes hands and then is funneled to various members of the criminal elements operating in the area.  Despite knowledge of this occurring, Bob only seeks to live out his life in loneliness and solitude, going to and from work and not doing much else.  One night, a sudden and unexpected event goes south at the bar that puts Bob right in the middle of a situation involving not only Marv, but the head of a local group of Chechen gangsters, Chovka (Michael Aronov), who is none too happy and is demanding recompense for the loss Marv has sustained.  Despite this, Bob tries to continue on with life as normal, until a walk home one night brings about an encounter with a local woman, Nadia (Noomi Rapace), with whom he slowly becomes involved with, thanks to a new and also unexpected friend he finds near her house.  But as events begin to unfold around him, with threats being made against him by a local thug, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) who has an even BIGGER tie to Bob’s life already (both present AND past) than he initially knows of, and with Marv’s involvement in the whole situation taking a turn Bob is not aware of, PLUS a local police detective, Torres (John Ortiz), starting to dig UP the past of both Marv AND Bob, the assuming life that Bob refuses to say he has anything to do with all comes crashing in on him.  In this happening, everything Bob has come to love about his life takes a drastic turn, and in making ONE choice, it still leaves him in denial of who he TRULY is and WHAT he is REALLY about.  And by the end of it all, it is clear that MANY more people’s lives have been impacted by “The Life”, but still choose to keep moving forward, even WITH the knowledge of events, again, past and present, that they have.  More specific details constitutes the realm of Spoilers…..and those are NOT happening on my watch!

Probably the first thing that would stick out to me about this movie was that it IS, honestly, a SLOW burn.  Even though it only clocked in at 1hr 47min, it FELT like 2 1/2hrs to me at times.  And having to point that out is actually a shame, because the story itself, the characters, and the overall execution of it all was very, very solid.  I think I just came into it somehow expecting a slightly more brisk pace to it, even as it is a full out drama, perhaps similar to other indie film dramas like “Out Of The Furnace” or “Winter’s Bone“, which had the same kind of feel to them, but felt like they just MOVED along with it.  This said, Tom Hardy with a New York accent was really fun to see, and his character Bob is played with this quiet, unassuming reserve that was really believable to me the whole way through.  When you see how Bob is, with his knowledge about what actually goes on at Cousin Marv’s Bar, yet TOTALLY denying he’s involved with ANY of it, very much allowed a dynamic with him that was interesting to watch unfold.  Gandolfini is sorely missed as it is, and seeing him one last time was a treat as far as I am concerned, playing the kind of old world tough guy that he SO excelled at in multiple film roles. Noomi Rapace was also solid as Nadia, a woman who herself has actually been exposed to and had to live with “The Life” herself, but sees an almost innocence in Bob that I felt became her initial attraction to him. And Schoenaerts plays Eric with significant menace as the hood that he is, and there were more than a few moments you just wanted to throttle the guy, especially when making threats against others, whether subtle or not. Aronov successfully nails his Chechen gangster Chovka, also infusing him with the more….DIRECT….approach to handling issues that bother him.  And I have always enjoyed John  Ortiz, whether playing a drug lord or a cop in this case, as he brings his own sense of purpose to the characters that cannot be shoved aside.  But again, it was PACING that made this NOT the overall “Wow!!” that I was looking for, but hopefully will not cause people to shy away from a solid story, solid ACTING, and a chance to say goodbye to the screen presence that was James Gandolfini.

As always, this is all for YOUR consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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