We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
“The Drop” is just how I like my Tom Hardy–in nearly every scene.
His notorious jailbird in “Bronson” was just too savage. His Batman arch-nemesis Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises” was too unintelligible. His recent solo tour-de-force behind the wheel in “Locke” was too much of a gimmick. And while this terrific British actor purred his way through “Inception” like a randy tomcat on a hot night, there just wasn’t nearly enough of him onscreen.
Now here comes “The Drop,” a solid, occasionally gripping crime thriller based on a short story by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone”)–making his screenwriting debut–and directed by Belgium’s Michael R. Roskam (whose unsettling “Bullhead” was a foreign-language Oscar nominee). There is a whole lot of Hardy going on, and “The Drop” is at its best when we can observe how the actor slowly peels away the layers from his character in a finely calibrated performance that builds to a satisfying full reveal in the final act.
Hardy’s Bob Saginowski is a dark horse of a Brooklyn bartender who excels at keeping his head down and looking the other way whenever the Chechen mobsters who own the place launder their ill-gotten money by way of a “drop” at the drinking establishment. This slice of working-class gang life is extra notable as the final film appearance by the late, great James Gandolfini–perfectly fine as Marv, Bob’s cousin and boss, who turns out to be the sort of desperate type that Tony Soprano would have had disposed of with nary a blink.