Friday, September 12, 2014
I became a Tom Hardy fan from his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (click for T&T post), which wasn't a big role for him, but there was a sexy indolence about the way he played that character that caught my notice. My sister fell for him in This Means War, (click for T&T post) not the best spy rom/com, but I agree he's rather adorably charming in that flick. I still have to catch up on Locke, (click for T&T blog contrib post). Lawless (click for T&T post) remains one of Tinsel & Tine's most read posts, where Hardy plays the un-kill-able bootlegger, Forrest Bondurant. Bottom line, if you need an actor to play a bad, good guy or good, bad guy, Hardy's got this down pat.
The Drop is about a blue collar type community in Brooklyn, where your neighborhood bar plays a key part in most people's day to day. This particular bar, Cousin Marv, is run by Cousin Marv (the late, James Gandolfini) and his cousin Bob (Hardy) tends the bar; but what we learn in the opening scene is that this is one of several "drop bars" where Chechen mobsters launder their dirty money. A robbery at the bar sets off a ripple effect that not only affects Marv and Bob's future, but brings up some unfinished business of the past.
There's a wonderful duality happening with the movie, as the focus shifts to Bob's decision to take in a rescued pitbull puppy, which had been beaten, cut and stuffed in some girl's trash can. The girl, Nadia (Noomi Rapace) cautiously lets Bob and the dog into her home to help administer doggy first aid, however, she can't keep it and Bob's not sure he can handle the responsibility of being a pet owner, that is until Marv puts it bluntly into perspective for him, saying something close to "It's a dog, not a long lost retarded relative showing up at your door with a colostomy bag, saying I'm here, take care of me".
The Drop premiered earlier this week at The Toronto Film Festival #TIFF14. I read the Indiewire review and was surprised to see the reviewer gave it a big thumbs down:
Did we mention Marv has a chip on his shoulder and that Schoenhaerts is also allegedly connected to the oft-mentioned mysterious unsolved death of a local neighborhood kid from Bob's past? Then of course there’s the central mysteries (who robbed the bar, who killed the kid) and the surprise twist that attempts to tether all these disparate stories together. If it all sounds convoluted and familiar, that's because it absolutely is. Beyond the clunky inelegance and familiarity of the plot, none of the normally terrific cast of actors are given much to do that you haven't seen a hundred times before in far more inspired crime dramas... READ MORE Rodridgo Perez The Playlist Indiewire
In my opinion, this review is totally off base! The Drop does have a slow build, but by the end you realize the deliberate pacing was genius. Tom Hardy's character is wonderfully complex to be so seemingly simple. I loved that the movie has an almost 70's feel, and you're left wondering a bit about the time in which the movie is set. There are cellphones, but no smartphones, is this because the characters are working class and kinda old school? Or is it because it's set in the late 90's? Regardless, the question doesn't take you out of the movie, it adds to the authenticity, as some of these types of neighborhoods really don't change from decade to decade.
I loved the tentative, cautious romance between Bob and Nadia, it's interestingly awkward, subtly sweet and dangerous all at the same time. Hardy and Rapace have another movie in the hopper set to be released before the end of the year called Child 44.
I was expecting a strict mob movie, of which I'm not a big fan of the genre, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a good character study, inside a film, with a mob movie on the side.
T &T's LAMB Score: 4 outta 5
More Around the Web
Here's a great interview with director Michaël Roskam further elaborating on the intricacies of Hardy's character and why he was compelled to turn a Dennis Lehane short story “Animal Rescue,” into a feature length movie:
Michaël Roskam: First of all, it was extremely well written. Within a couple of pages, it started turning into images for me, and I wasn’t reading dialogue, I was hearing it. The mind and the gut started to connect, and that’s good. Second, I love characters who are static — someone who is not actually living, but just existing — because they are trying to handle their past. It could be something that happened to them, some attack or trauma. But we forget that you can also be traumatized by the things you do. Things that you regret or struggle with can become a force within you. These static people don’t want to deal anymore with the past; they want to forget it. They enter into a kind of existential hypnosis: day in and day out, the same thing. Bob has done it to the extent that, at the outset, people might think he’s a little simple. Tom Hardy and I felt that we had to present him as a kind of idiot savant — not in the insulting sense, but in the sense of the fool...READ MORE Matthew Lickona San Diego Reader
Comments are welcome on facebook or twitter - What do you think of the Indiewire review, fair or harsh?
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