Monday, December 29, 2014

Film Review: The Drop (2014)

Copyright: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Certain parts of the US seem as if they were made for street violence, shady criminal dealings and colorful character that partake in this environment. Brooklyn, with its working class quagmire and a thick accent that can be recognized by people outside of the States, is definitely one of those places.

The Drop (2014) is a film heavily set in Brooklyn. Michaël R. Roskam created his movie so that it is fueled by mystery and suspense. The mystery part revolves around the notion of a bar that was formerly run by a small local gang, but which then got overtaken by a more ruthless and capable Chechen criminal organization. Now, the bar is sometimes used as the Drop, or a place where all the dirty money collected by the organization gets taken and kept for transport. The only thing is that the Drop moves constantly, but many people think about robbing it.

The suspense part of the film is handled by Tom Hardy, who plays Bob, the bar worker. His older superior, called Cousin Marv is the former owner of both the bar and the local gang. Now, Marv is angry and afraid, while Bob just wants to keep his head down. One night, he finds an abandoned pit bull pup, and decides not to walk away. This sparks a series of changes in Bob’s life, while at the same time danger looms over everyone.

Roskam directed his actors to present a slightly warped atmosphere in the film, which seems strangely unusual, even autistic at times. The mastery of this film isn’t its thriller element, which can be quickly determined by a careful watcher in the first 20 minutes, but the notion of its action being set in the world of the “formers”.

Apart from the police officers and merciless Chechens, everyone else in the Drop movie is something former – former local thugs, former loan sharks, former addicts, former psychopaths and former believers. This subtext gives the film a really engaging edge, which also provides actors, primarily Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the incredible James Gandolfini a very rewarding playground.

As the plot plows towards its conclusion, it envelops the characters so tightly that it’s not the current story that is relevant, but more the question of how will it change them (even if it ends up killing them). Similar to the film Blue Ruin, the Drop is OK with its characters till the very end, no matter what they did, or how did they do it, mostly because they tried to do something.