Starring: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace
Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Running Time: 106 mins
The Drop is an American film about a man who finds himself in the middle of a deep investigation into crime in his neighbourhood, all the while under threat from the perpetrators of a robbery gone wrong.
Much like other films in this hard, gritty side of the crime genre, The Drop doesn’t show off with excessive violence or action, but instead grabs you with an engrossing story, riveting characters, and an overpowering atmosphere that brings the sense of threat and danger to light in brilliant fashion. Although its plot may not have the eternal ingenuinty of the likes of Goodfellas or Casino, its small-scale nature, combined with some very strong performances across the board, makes for an engrossing watch from beginning to end.
In fact, let’s start off with those performances. The Drop is a film with relatively little dialogue, considering the surprising depth and complexity of its plot, however that doesn’t stop the actors from engrossing you all the same. Above all, Tom Hardy gives the film’s standout performance, not only because he nails a difficult accent, but also because he crafts an enthralling enigma of a character through a fairly quiet and down-to-earth performance, yet manages to create enough drama and mystery around the character to make his arc in the film as unpredictable and riveting as possible.
Hardy’s ambiguous position between well-meaning everyman and someone who is still complicitin shady, illegal activities makes for a fantastic central focus throughout, however his co-stars also bring a lot to the table, with James Gandolfini bringing his expertise in the crime genre with as typically gritty and mysterious yet charismatic a performance as ever, and Noomi Rapace proving a far more riveting and magnetic a presence than the typical ‘love interest’ role often is.
Of course, these characters and performances would be nothing without a good screenplay – and that’s exactly what The Drop has. As I said, it doesn’t quite stand up to history’s greatest crime stories, but that’s not what it’s trying to do. As a film that focuses on a fairly small-scale crime operation, all set within one local community, there’s something about its smaller focus that makes for a really riveting watch. The screenplay balances its focus between gritty crime and genuine character development well, meaning that it’s an engaging watch from start to finish, and even packs a little bit of an emotional punch as well.
Although the film’s slower pace and relative lack of dialogue may not look exciting on the outside, The Drop is a movie that you can really gain a lot from if you concentrate hard. It does admittedly take a little while to get going, but unlike similar films of the genre (i.e. Killing Them Softly), it does have real depth, and that alone makes it a great watch throughout, only furthered by these great performances and strong writing, so that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7 overall.