Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"I just tend the bar": The Drop (2014)

Films have been made from Dennis Lehane's novels Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River and Shutter Island (the film versions were directed by, respectively, DGA winners Ben Affleck, Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese--no slouches there). The latest film made from a piece of Dennis Lehane fiction, The Drop, is based on the author's short story "Animal Rescue," with a script by Lehane himself and directed by Michael R. Roskam, director of the critically-acclaimed 2011 Belgian film Rundskop (Bullhead).

Bob (Tom Hardy) with "Rocco"
The title "The Drop" references a Brooklyn "drop bar"--where Chechen mob money gets stashed for short time--run by former owner "Cousin Marv" (the late James Gandolfini). Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy), an actual cousin of "Cousin Marv," tends bar.  Early in the film the bar is robbed by two masked hoodlums.  Mob cash is stolen, which puts Marv and Bob on the spot with Chovka (Michael Aronov), the silkily menacing son of the Chechen crime boss, to, as he puts it, "find my money."

Meanwhile, Bob rescues a badly contused pit bull puppy dumped into a garbage can, which leads him into a relationship of sorts with kindhearted waitress Nadia (Noomi Rapace, film's original Lisbeth Salander).

This in turn brings him into conflict with local menacing, screws-loose character Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts), reputed to have killed a local man who disappeared ten years earlier. Mild-mannered, church-going Bob tries to stay out of the varied cesspools swirling around him ("I just tend the bar" is his refrain), but the cesspools are getting ever bigger, dragging in everything around him.  What will Bob do?

Nadia (Noomi Rapace)

This is a terse summary of the plot, but in plot description I try to err on the side of stinginess in order to avoid spoilers.  Aside from the fact that the film boasts great performances (Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini, who play the most developed characters, stand out, but the other actors named above nailed their roles as well), I loved Lehane's script, which details a plot that should please classic mystery fans. Having watched The Drop a second time now on DVD, I think it one of the best crime films from recent years and I heartily recommend it.

"Cousin Marv" (James Gandolfini)


  1. Great short story and great movie. Not sure I want to read the more fleshed out book.