The Drop Review: Simultaneously Too Much and Too Little

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The Drop frequently has a lot going on at once. Sometimes it even gets its A plot and its B plot confused. But after a slow start, most of what’s going on is incredibly captivating.

We follow Bob (Tom Hardy), a bartender working for his cousin Marv (the late James Gandolfini in his final feature film role), as he navigates the criminal underbelly of Brooklyn. Meanwhile, he finds a young pit bull in a garbage can belonging to Nadia (Noomi Rapace), it having been planted by her ex-boyfriend.

While all of this doesn’t quite come to a head until the climax, several things keep The Drop interesting throughout most of its runtime.

The most obvious is the outstanding performances from the three leads. Hardy, Gandolfini, and Rapace all fully form their characters, hinting at details that aren’t given in the script. They give the movie depth that it would otherwise lack.

Then there’s the setting. This isn’t Lena Dunham’s Brooklyn. There’s nothing trendy or hip about the bar the characters work at, which is precisely the point. Only in such a rag tag location can these illegal activities take place. This is a side of Brooklyn that still very much exists if you get off at the wrong subway stop. It’s also a rare one to see explored so richly and honestly.

But the film still feels overlong and, occasionally, just plain boring. The climax is certainly well worth your time, but the road there feels clunky and misguided. This is a script that relies on its characters to make things worth paying attention to. While it works some of the time, it doesn’t work enough of the time.

It leaves The Drop feeling a bit empty and ultimately shallow. But what works about it really works. I just wish that feeling had been more consistent. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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