Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Drop (4¾ Stars)

This is something that's never happened to me before. I went to see "The Drop" at Cineworld with my friends from the Birmingham Film Club. It was time for the ads and trailers to start, but the screen was blank. After five minutes our intrepid leader, Mike McAuley, went out to ask the staff what was happening. He came back and told us that the cinema had forgotten to start the film. I suppose that in a multiplex cinema with 12 screens it's easy to forget one of the screens. A few minutes later a lovely young lady came in to apologise and promised that the film would be shown without any ads or trailers, so that the film wouldn't finish later than planned. After all, it was a late showing, and some of us needed to catch the last bus. All's well that ends well. Finally the film began, on time, if we assume that the ads and trailers would have lasted 20 minutes.

"The Drop" was the last film that James Gandolfini made before his death. It also stars Tom Hardy, Naomi Rapace and a pitbull called Rocco. Well, actually three pitbulls called Rocco. The puppy was supposed to be a few weeks old, but he grew too fast, so he had to be replaced twice during the filming.

The main character is Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy), the barman in a bar in Brooklyn. This is one of several bars used as a drop bar, a place where illegal money is stored overnight. The bar's previous owner was Bob's cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), but although the bar still carries his name he's only an employee, since it is now owned by Chechen gangsters. Unknown to Bob, Marv has hired gangsters to rob the bar so that he can get revenge on the Chechens, who he considers to have unfairly robbed him of his property.

Bob is a quiet man, lost in his own world. He only begins to open up when he finds a small pitbull abandoned in a trash can. Bob begins to feel attached to the pitbull, and a romance also develops with Nadia (Naomi Rapace), the woman in whose trash can he finds the pitbull puppy. Unfortunately the pitbull's previous owner was a gangster who was Nadia's ex-boyfriend and now works for Marv. It's a small world.

Of all the films I've seen starring James Gandolfini, this is the one in which he gets closest to his Tony Soprano personality, even though Marv is an ex-mobster who no longer commands the respect of his peers. Tom Hardy, however, is the film's biggest star. He is by far my favourite actor. Without giving away any spoilers, I'd like to say that he's totally credible in all the changes in Bob's character during the film.

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