The Drop


Belgian director Michael R. Roskam's terrific crime puzzler The Drop stars Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace in the screen adaptation of a bleak Dennis Lehane story titled "Animal Rescue." Hardy and Gandolfini, in his last performance before his death last summer, are cousins (Bob and Marv, respectively) who run a Brooklyn bar owned by Chechen mobsters and which serves as one of several "drops" for the mob. After the bar is hit by masked robbers, the Chechen gangsters order the two to get the money back or else. Message received. One afternoon, Bob, a deceptively simple chap, finds a battered pit bull pup in the trash can of a neighbor Nadia (Rapace), who's had her own abusive encounters. She convinces the perplexed Bob to take the dog and promises to coach him in pet care. It's the closest that the eternally dour screenwriter Lehane (author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone) gets to meet-cute. It becomes apparent fairly quickly that Nadia's past is her present and it's tailing her. Roskams' washed out palette, the wintry sidewalks, cluttered interiors and the ominous presence of Roskam's fellow Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts as lunatic stalker Deeds signal that none of this will end well. Dark and thoroughly entertaining.

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