Monday, 17 November 2014

The Drop (2014)


[Now for a bust of a movie that is all about performance, set in a world that seems strangely out of time.]

The Drop (2014) is an American crime drama film directed by Michaël R. Roskam, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, and John Ortiz.

In the end, socially reserved barman Tom Hardy saves neighbour Noomi Rapace from her psychologically disturbed, abusive former boyfriend, Matthias Schoenaerts, by murdering him as he attempts to hold-up his workplace, at the secret behest of the bar's manager, James Gandolfini, Hardy's uncle.

No longer able to afford his comatose father's spiralling healthcare costs, Gandolfini, a former small-time hoodlum, hatches a plot to rob his Chechen mob bosses by successively holding up the bar he lost to them, which he now runs with his nephew Hardy, and which is occasionally used to bank the daily proceeds of the mobsters' criminal activities.

Following the initial robbery, frustrated that Hardy has revealed a detail helpful to investigating police detective John Ortiz in identifying one of Gandolfini's secret accomplices, their mob bosses make it clear that the pair are expected to recover the stolen contents of the bar's cash register, provoking Gandolfini to murder, so as to leave the incriminating body part with the stolen loot for Hardy to find and return to the Chechens, who, in recognition, designate the bar for all deposits during the imminent Super-Bowl.

Knowing the night of the big take, but having murdered his sole remaining accomplice, who got cold feet following his incriminated partner's disappearance, Gandolfini recruits local thug, Schoenaerts, who has been intimidating Hardy since discovering the badly injured puppy he abused and left in his ex-girlfriend's trash, has been being cared for by Hardy, with her help.

Suspicious of Gandolfini calling in sick on such a profitable night for the bar, and confused by Schoenaerts' earlier failure to collect protection money he had demanded from him for the puppy, Hardy's nerves are set on edge when Schoenaerts shows up at the bar with a reluctant Rapace in tow and little interest in the cash Hardy has brought with him.

Unmoved by Schoenaerts' threatening demands, once the bar empties, that he should open the drop safe, Hardy calmly confesses that he is responsible for the local murder Schoenaerts had built his tough guy reputation on, and promptly shoots him in the same manner, calling in his Chechen bosses for help disposing of the evidence, who subsequently offer Hardy the job of running the bar, having executed Gandolfini.

Withholding her presence in the bar, as a witness, from both the Chechens and Ortiz, whose attention is now focused on Hardy for both the disappearance of Schoenaerts and the murder he claimed to have committed but which Ortiz knows him to be innocent of, Hardy approaches Rapace in the hope of continuing their friendship.

Despite wonderful performances from everyone on screen, save for the Chechen clichés, there's something that just doesn't quite ring true about this rather slight story that seems to hale from a bygone era of crime, involving plot twists that were far too easily divined, featuring yet another character that stretches the high functioning autistic envelope to include criminals that enjoy perfect recall but have a hard time relating to other people.