Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini are cousins who work in a bar that is owned by vicious gangsters.  For the most part, the bar operates on the level; but sometimes, it is used as a drop bar, where illegally made money is stored overnight by gangsters.   One night, a pair of masked, armed robbers take the night’s drop of over 5 grand as Hardy and Gandolfini are closing shop; and the Chechen, gangster owner of the bar wants the thieves and the money they took.   The boss suspects that Gandolfini was in on the robbery; now Hardy and Gandolfini are in a bind to find “The Drop” that was stolen and prove their innocence to the mobster.

To make matters worse for Hardy, he finds and takes in an abused and discarded, pit bull puppy that he finds inside the trash can of a woman played by Noomi Rapace.   Rapace gives the puppy first aid, and teaches Hardy a little about raising a dog.  An uneasy friendship starts, and it slowly leads to an uneasy romance.  Topping off this side of the drama is a man who suddenly develops an interest in Hardy’s puppy; a man who makes overt and veiled threats to destroy the newly found happiness of Hardy.

I found myself liking Hardy’s character quickly.   He is soft-spoken, likes dogs, generous, stays out of trouble…but as the movie progresses, it is clear there is a lot more to this man than what I’ve described.  Sure, Gandolfini is a bigger star than Hardy, and “The Drop” is Gandolfini’s last movie; but Hardy is the star of the show, giving a restrained performance that sometimes comes off as bad acting, but in reality it is a crucial piece of storytelling that pays off in the latter part of the third act.

One memorable, movie moment of “The Drop” is the scene when the mobster boss visits the bar and shows Hardy and Gandolfini one of the boss’ victims — who is still alive — inside a van.  It’s a gruesome sight, and a hint as to what could happen to Hardy and Gandolfini if they had a part in the robbery.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Drop” is the conversation Hardy had with Gandolfini about the new puppy, with Hardy going on about how enormous the responsibility is for taking care of the pup.  Gandolfini tells Hardy, “Well, it’s a dog.  It’s not like some long, lost, retarded relative shows up at your door in a wheelchair and a colostomy bag hanging out of his ass…says ‘I’m yours now, take care of me.'”   Ha ha!  Ha ha ha ha!   But seriously, I’m with Hardy on this one.  I had dogs before, and if you’re a good owner, you will have a lot of responsibility in properly caring for a dog.  On the other hand, if you’re a piece of crap of a human being, then owning a dog is a very simple matter: you leave it outside, chained, and give it food and water; and when the dog is no longer of any use to you, you throw the body in a dumpster somewhere.

Those who enjoy suspense/thriller/drama flicks should watch “The Drop” because it’s a fine example of those types of movies.  The third act of the movie really ramps up the tension, and you just know things are going to go badly for at least one person; but you don’t know for who, and how it will come about.

— M