The Drop – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The DropThe Drop – 3/5 –   September has become (in the past few years) a month littered with ‘just good’ but ‘not good enough’ films.  Because of this mix bag of filming, it makes it hard to judge how this ‘transition month’ will be.   When it comes to this film, it is one filled with a lot of great character moments, but there’s a fair amount of stuff with the direction that lowers what could have made this great.  In the end, The Drop is a film that will entertain, even with glaring flaws.

Premise: At the heart of Brooklyn, is a world of the Drop.  Within one fateful night, the raveling of a Drop location will lead to a confrontation that will only serve the meaning of true respect.

As mentioned above, this film strength is found in the characters, specifically the main ones.  In this film, you have a lot of notable names.  The people that act in this film are:

Tom Hardy as Bob

Noomi Rapace as Nadia

James Gandolfini as Cousin Marv

Matthias Schoenaerts as Eric Deeds

John Ortiz as Detective Torres

All of these actors/actresses do an amazing job with bringing you into the film.  Overall, they (as a total group) help define a strong tone for the film.  Each of them has a raw ‘gritty’ kind of feeling to their portrayal, helping provide a theme of consistency between the interaction and line deliver.  Two stand outs in this cast are Tom Hardy as Bob and James Gandolfini as Cousin Marv.  Both deliver astute performances, but each of them stands out significantly because of their contrasting behavior.  Bob is a very low key and methodical person; subtle to a point where there is a boundary of ‘respect’.  You see there is fear to have him around, but at the same time you feel that fear is what provides that protectiveness.  This overall depth is brought through a combination of accent, body reaction, facial expressions and line poignancy.  You rarely see a captive performance done with precision like this, but when you do, it is one that helps bring true definition to great acting.  You see that Tom Hardy is completely engrossed as this character, giving you a real person living within this ‘Brooklyn life.’  In contrast, Gandolfini gives a more suave but gruesome personality, one that is built around a blunt behavior and cautious web weaving (behind the scenes).  He gives you a very ‘out of bounds’ performance, one that is complimented by the subtlety of Hardy’s Bob.  That subtlety helps create this ‘family’ tone between both Cousin Marv and Bob, showing that Marv’s disgruntled behavior needs Bob to counter it.  The layering also is brought through the bantering he gives, which helps bring out a sarcastic feel, along with this his ‘gangster’ persona.    Outside of these characters, you definitely see a drag in the secondary support.  The rest of the film is littered with one dimensional gangsters, cops and aloof citizens unaware of the surroundings.  This wouldn’t be as bad as other films, but because of how (at the beginning) this one is character focused, it shows its rear head badly.  You get a bland compliment to wonderful leads, which strain the viewing experience.

The direction of the film brings about a story with a ‘gangster’ perspective, but looses this string because of lack of consistency within the overall bulk of the film.  In retrospect, you notice this film has a bit of an identity crisis after the first act.   In the beginning, the prologue introduces us to the main players, as well as that subtle ‘gangster life’ that is behind the scenes. As it does this, it introduces ‘lingering’ threads that sparks intrigue for the audience.  What you see, is that within Brooklyn, there seems to be a lot of dirty money, which needs to have a place of transaction.  These places are known as Drop location.  A lot of ‘eyes’ focus on these Drops.  Within that overall premise, these lingering threads help define a purpose for the story and main characters.   Bob helps run the bar with his Cousin Marv, which serves as a Drop location.  After one fateful night, things are brings in those ‘eyes’ to come up front, causing a domino effect for the main characters.  This helps force a mysterious tone, helping layer the gangster theme.  This serves the movie well, bringing about why there is strength within the ‘character focus’.  You begin to wonder the truth behind Bob and Cousin Marv, seeing an invoked purpose for why certain people get involved.   This evolving story seems to be building up towards something great, until it gets into the second act.  This is when the plot gets unfocused, swirling around the main and side stories.  This causes the film to get bigger than the overall scope.   Littered throughout any film, the main story is usually complimented with some side stories; that is a basis of fact.  Even with side stories, a film needs to keep a central focus.  The direction in this one looses traction in the second act, taking too many liberties to bring unwanted melding of the side stories.   When this happens, the film becomes convoluted causing any lasting affect to lose important.  You lose any really connection to the characters for a long stretch, and those ‘poignant’ moments that do happen fall flat.  Taking those liberties causes the director to force certain aspect of the film to connect, where some characters and ‘gritty’ elements turn into bland plot devices just to get from ‘Point A’ to ‘B’.  Eventually, instead of falling into the trap of terribleness, the film takes a turn back towards the characters within a certain moment that happens between Cousin Marv and Bob.  When this moment happens, it brings the focus back to the characters and ‘gangster’ storyline.  The film goes back to the raw intrigue, giving us a focus that makes you care again for what is happening.  The third act then builds upon those gritty motions, leading you down a path of intensity marked in a ‘dark’ tone.  When that overall hazed mystery finally rears its head, it does so in a very befitting climax.  Here, you witness a monologue that is beyond redeeming, but character defining for the main players in the film.  The ending of this film helps ease the fallout, but also bring closure to Bob and his Cousin Marv.

The visuals of the film are grounded in reality.  Even with the simple scope of Brooklyn, NY; that tone allows you to gravity to some sense of believability, knowing that there is truth behind the story.  The score is mute at best, and has no real inkling on the overall film.

The Drop is a film that had a lot of great aspects (characters, gritty main story) but because of directional cues and lack of real focus, it becomes average at best.  If you’re a fan of Tom Hardy and the rest of the cast, I say go watch it in theaters.  It is a good character film, but don’t expect anything past that.

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