The Drop is a film adapted from a short story called "Animal Rescue" written by Dennis Lehane who is most well known for writing the original novels for Shutter Island and Mystic River. The movie stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini and was directed by Michaël R. Roskam who has also worked with Hardy in Bullhead.
Bob (Hardy) is a quiet soul who works at his cousin Marv's (Gandolfini) bar which he used to own until a Chechen mob boss took it over in exchange for a botched deal. Since then, "Cousin Marv's" has been added to a roster of locations randomly selected to be "drop bars" where money is sent to eventually be picked up and laundered. While Marv deals with family issues, he devises a plan to get out of "the life" that has been holding him and his sister back for far too long.
Meanwhile, Bob has a chance meeting with a woman named Nadia (Rapace) and an abandoned puppy who each manage to turn his life in unexpected directions. While taking care of the puppy adds a sense of responsibility to his life, Nadia gives him the companionship he has been lacking years. As Bob and Marv head down these different paths, there are people around them who would rather see the two removed from the picture altogether and sooner or later, they will have to deal with a past that may not ever let them truly move on.
If Tom Hardy isn't one of your favorite actors, he eventually will be. His performance in this movie reminds me a little bit of the silent anti hero portrayed by Ryan Gosling in Drive and is the polar opposite of the work he's done in movies like Inception and The Dark knight Rises. He utilizes so many subtle techniques to show undercurrents of emotion keeps the audience guessing as to what type of man he really is. Noomi Rapace's beaming personality is a perfect balance to Hardy's understated acting and I can't help but really, really like whatever character she brings to life. Putting these two together was a brilliant move and they do an outstanding job of elevating a movie that wouldn't be nearly as good without them.
When I think back about the story on it's own merit, I would say it's solid but nothing extraordinary. That's not to say it's bad or a waste of time, but I really believe the quality of acting is what puts it over the top as a movie I would recommend rather than tell you to skip. There is an undercurrent of intensity maintained throughout that helps to keep your attention which says a lot about what Roskam brings to the table as a director. Every frame of the movie is meticulously crafted and the muted color pallet adds to the sense of ordinary life he is trying to convey. There is even a nice twist thrown in at the end pretty much turns everything upside down albeit in a very cool way.
If nothing else, The Drop provides more evidence that both Hardy and Rapace will some day have lots of awards piled up between them. While this movie may not make a big enough splash to get them that type of attention this time around, their performances are more than worthy and will help them continue to build on their already stellar resumes. Is this a movie worth your time? I would have to say absolutely yes, for a solid story and even more so for the excellent acting.