The Drop

John Candy and “Wagons East.” Raul Julia and “Street Fighter.” These are just a couple of examples of actors being in really bad movies, not knowing it will be the last ones they do before their untimely deaths. While “The Drop” is not as awful as the aforementioned pictures, it still has the late James Gandolfini going out on a bad movie.

Bob (Tom Hardy) and Cousin Marv (Gandolfini) run a popular bar in Brooklyn that just so happens to be one of the many drop bars the mob uses for money laundering and where they drop money off for their betting needs. After the place gets robbed, Bob and Marv find themselves in a heap of trouble from their “bosses.” The movie is based on the short story “Animal Rescue” by Dennis Lehane. There is also a side story about Bob finding an abused dog in a trash can and with the help of Noomi Rapace, they nurse it back to health.

The top of the movie poster for “The Drop” reads, “From the author of ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Gone Baby Gone’ so it is easy to see how the picture attracted such great stars for it. However, in those movies someone else wrote the screenplays based on Lehane’s work. I am unfamiliar with the short story on which this is based, but either Dennis Lehane should stick to writing novels (if you think those movies are good wait until you read those books) or the producers should have found a more veteran director than Michaël R. Roskam to bring it to the screen. Perhaps it is a bit of both.


There is a lot of curing in “The Drop.” This is no big deal, but it almost feels forced when you hear it. Since the movie is set in Brooklyn it sounds like it was written in a certain way so the voices would sound genuine. “This is how people in Brooklyn talk.” While it certainly is, whenever you hear an F-bomb dropped there is too much emphasis put on it. As moviegoers we frequently hear cursing in movies and we just let it pass, but in this movie you feel like it was put in there just so it can sound authentic. What the filmmakers failed to realize is that when they did that it ended up making the movie feel fake.

There is a plot to “The Drop” and it builds slowly, ever so slowly. The problem is that director Roskam takes too much time that the audience is barely engage once some of the plot twists are revealed. The movie does not break any new ground in this type of genre and Roskam appears to have taken what he has seen in many movies before and applied is directing style to match right down to the underlining soundtrack that is always playing to let you know there is tension going on in a scene.

There is nothing wrong with the acting in “The Drop.” Hardy masters his New York accent with ease. Gandolfini’s Cousin Marv has a lot of internal conflict going on and his performance is solid. Those expecting to see some Tony Soprano come out, since this is a mob type flick, will be disappointed. There is not likely to be a posthumous Oscar for the late actor, but his performance is a sad reminder of a great talent who went well before his time.

“The Drop” is more of a character piece than anything else, but its efforts to be something more hinder even that. A final problem with it is that it is one of those movies that never seems to end. Every time you think you think the end credits are about to roll another scene pops up. Most of us don’t care for that. If James Gandolfini could choose what movie would be the last one of his career, it’s doubtful he would have chosen this one. It is rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language.