Film Review: The Drop

Imagine being a Ferrari: ahead you is a clear, open road and all you have to do is put your foot down.  But instead you’re coasting along – it’s not unpleasant, it’s mildly entertaining at the time but you’re always expecting that little bit more: that umph!  It’s only after you get out of the car and the opportunity is gone, do you realise that you’ve wasted the chance to leave your mark. 

Got that? Have you pictured it yet? You know the feeling I’m taking about right?

Well that’s exactly how you’ll feel after leaving the cinema following a viewing of The Drop. 

The trailer left you on the edge of the seat, it buttered you up just right – to the point where you really wanted to know what was going to happen and you assumed that whatever is was – it was going to be fireworks. 

Sadly, The Drop burns slowly and never reaches the bright light of a spark let alone the bang of an explosion. 

The initial thought was that the trailer has purposely not given too much away, after all we seem to be in the day and age where we see the good bits of the movie before we actually take our seats in the theatre.  But after watching The Drop, you realise that what you saw in the trailer was pretty much the movie – they didn’t keep the good bits back at all – in-fact it seems there were none. 

The premise is simple:  innocent bar tender Bob (Tom Hardy), just pulls pints and keeps his down while his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) potters about still bitter about losing his bar to the Chechen gangsters.  Bob goes about the place with a face like a smacked arse, you’re waiting for him to lash out, infact you’re willing him to, but instead he finds a dog in a dumpster and becomes a sensitive soul. 

Falls short of greatness 

That’s fine, because it sets up the story nicely; Bob becomes close to a lady who helps him look after the dog – romantic right? And you begin to think that the well-used – female gets kidnapped storyline is about to be used again, forcing Bob into reacting with muscle rather than a grunt.  
Sadly, that assumption was wrong.  The story revolves around ‘the drop’ – where the Chechen gangsters pick a Brooklyn Bar to stash the city’s dirty money for a night – again it’s a story with potential. 

Potential is never reached

But again the potential is never sought after let alone found.  The movie bobs along at a nice gentle pace while all the time you’re expecting it to go to the next level but it never does.  Right from the beginning you get the impression that director Michaël R Roskam may have watched The Departed every night after filming the Drop and simply thought: ‘I can’t match that’ – the movie from the outset seems defeatist.

There are twists and turns but in truth it is very boring.  You can see the ending a mile off and even the twists you don’t see don’t come at you with any bite but more of a gentle prod in the side. 

This was James Gandolfini’s last film before he died and it’s such a shame because his character never got the chance to really shine, if let loose, Gandolfini had the opportunity to take his character into a much deeper and darker place but like the film itself, it was as if going to the next level was just too much hard work. 

The Drop had the chance to really grab the gangster genre and shake it up in a similar way to The Departed or The Town, but instead Roskam’s attempt seems quite content at just peacefully drifting along.