Despite boasting a fantastic cast, The Drop can’t pull itself out of the mire of clichés.
Dennis Lehane, whose books have been turned into classics like Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island, adapts his own short story “Animal Rescue” into a near parody of his own tough-guy shtick.
Tom Hardy, woefully miscast, wanders through life as Bob. He helps run a Brooklyn bar with Marv (James Gandolfini, in his last on-screen performance), which is really a front for the mob. After a robbery gone wrong, they find themselves with a lot of money to pay in a short amount of time. So yeah, it’s just like a dozen other movies you’ve seen about some mostly good people who fall in with some mostly bad people.
Let’s talk about Tom Hardy for a minute. He’s a great actor, especially as evidenced by his one-man production Locke. He’s great at playing characters with lots of swagger, like Bane or Bronson. Here, he’s so timid and unsure of himself, virtually receding into the background. It doesn’t help that his Brooklyn accent is shaky, and he’s mumbling more than speaking.
James Gandolfini gives an appropriately lived-in performance as Marv, who’s got something up his sleeve. But it really doesn’t help The Drop’s case that his character and Big Speech reminds me of his performance in the much better Killing Them Softly, which had a sharp allegory and biting humor.
Noomi Rapace, star of the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, plays Bob’s tentative love interest Nadia, scarred (literally and emotionally) by her ex, a two-bit thug played by Matthias Schoenaerts. She’s fine, but her role could have been played by literally anyone. The same goes for John Ortiz as the detective investigating the robbery.
The real scene-stealer is Rocco, the dog Bob rescues. He’s an adorable pit bull, but the metaphor of rehabilitating a tough, misunderstood animal, isn’t really well developed. There’s nothing terrible about The Drop, but every scene reveals how it could have been so much better.
The special features include the standard making-of stuff, including a commentary with the writer and director, but the featurette on Rocco gives us more time with the precious pup.