The Drop (2014)

Tom Hardy. This guy has shown a wide enough acting range that I'm starting to consider him a genuine grade A actor. He's already shown his capabilities (especially with Locke) and deserves a lot of respect. The fact is, his portrayal of Bane in the last Batman movie was actually pretty good, but that movie had its own problems, and his wide shoulders had to take the brunt of them.

In this movie, Tom plays a simple bartender from the Bronx. At first, I even wondered if the opening voice over was Tom at all, as the voice was much higher pitched and the accent was so recognizable as New York. Admittedly, it isn't a spot-on accent for the entire movie, but it is really good for an Englishman. I have no explanation for his voice being about an octave and a half higher than his normal register, but he maintains that one just fine.

As far as I can tell, this was officially the last movie that James Gandolfini was in before he died. He plays a guy who is essentially a less capable version of Tony from The Sopranos. He's a low-level bookie and bar owner who is generally moody and casually cruel, but he has a modicum of the gruff charm that James reluctantly brings to all of his roles.

Noomi Rapace is the reclusive waitress at a nearby bar who befriends Tom when he finds an abused puppy shoved into her garbage. She plays the role like she's the human equivalent of a scared mouse, and I guess there are lots of those kinds of people out there, but you don't normally expect them in the Bronx. It has a certain reputation for the hard working, down to earth people who live there, but that's probably just a stereotype, anyway.

Life is complicated by the fact that there are different bars in the area that are used as drop points by the mafia (nope, not the Italian mafia, either) for all of the cash being bet on... whatever sport people bet on at any particular time. This intrusion of crime seems like it doesn't fit with Tom's character - who comes across as simple as he could be, and he's very likable as a result of his straight-forward manner.

Direction was good
Story was very good
Acting was excellent
Effects were good
Dialog was very good

Bottom Line: A very good movie, and a good send-off for James.



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