Bob Saginowski is a bartender at his relations bar "Cousin Marv's" which also operates as a 'drop' for illegal takings for Chechen mobsters. With a strain of a big 'drop' looming after rescuing a puppy Bob finds himself at clashing with a local hood (with a reputation of being a killer) claiming to be the dog's owner.
A gritty production which daringly hinges on a single surprise plot point (written by Mystic River's Dennis Lehane), and to director Michaël R. Roskam credit its successfully executed. Its dialogue driven, small in scale and refreshingly the violence is minimum, hard hitting and over quickly.
Tom Hardy simmers throughout as Bob and carries the weight of the film to it's boiling point. His unassuming bartender is believable, emotional and susceptible. In his last role playing on a naturalistic background James Gandolfini effortlessly graces the screen in the on location shoot, amongst the naturalistic settings as Marv. There are some touching moments when Hardy and Noomi Rapace are tending to a puppy mirroring the tenderness of Rocky and Adrianne in Rocky (1976). Rapace plays the troubled Nadia best when she's on a back foot when her ex boyfriend turns up. Notable is John Ortiz in a small part as Detective Torres.
Roskam's vision captures the everyday environment with 1970's grit reminiscent of The French Connection (1971) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975) to name a few. He effectively builds up tension with the characters interplay. The Drop is subtle as it can be, there's no elaborate heists, fights and explosions, just the characterisation of the cast to keep you intrigued until the end. Marco Beltrami is on form, harmonizing the on screen drama with his score.
Granted there's an abundance of similar themed crime dramas, but The Drop raises the bar with its smartly written script and great small cast ensemble.