The Drop features a mob-related crime story not so different than what you’ve seen before in, say, Killing Them Softly — or a hundred other films. But it succeeds by two factors: one, the story very adeptly maintains a steady drumbeat of tension that keeps you invested in the film throughout. And two, its excellent performances, anchored by British actor Tom Hardy in a masterful portrayal of a distinctly American bartender named Bob. Bob’s not your normal tough guy. He’s more interesting than that. Like the great modern film noir After Dark, My Sweet, this central figure may come across a little slow or a little stupid. But not so fast.
The Drop is the second high-quality crime picture of the year, Cold in July being the first. And like Cold in July, The Drop was a nice surprise. It was written by Dennis Lehane, and the narrative allows uncertainty to hang in the air in a way not dissimilar to his previous work Mystic River. In addition to Hardy, it stars a perfectly-cast James Gandolfini in his last feature film and Noomi Rapace, from the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. 8/10