‘The Drop’ Is Tops

thedropSo this is how I chose to watch “The Drop” last night. First I scanned through the on-demands available, and finding nothing that piqued my interest, I checked out what was on the 10 channels of HBO — but I knew already what was on HBO because practically all they’ve been showing this last few weeks/months is “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” “Ride Along,” and “Draft Day,” all of which I’ve seen and are not worth repeating (except maybe that scene in “A Million” when the block of ice crushes that guy and Seth McFarlane yells out in distress “That went south SO fast!” I could watch that a dozen times).

The same ol’ same ol’ lineup was broken up by some boxing which I’m always good for, and slotted after that was something called “The Drop,” which rang absolutely no bells whatsoever. None. I read the info blurb about some barkeep in Brooklyn and squinted at the tiny image of the poster at what I thought was Gene Hackman, and I was in. I could watch Gene Hackman watching a movie with Gene Hackman in it.

So I hit the record button on the remote, clicked on over to the boxing match in progress and watched a light-heavyweight boxer named Gonazalez dominate a boxer named Pascal only to get robbed by the judges of his victory, and then I watched a boxer named Kovalev put down a challenger named Mohammedi in four rounds. By then “The Drop” had started recording so we set that in motion.

Spoiler alert: Gene Hackman’s not in it. The face I thought was his in the thumbnail was actually James Gandolfini (in essentially his final film). My bad. Gandolfini’s costar? Tom Hardy, who you might remember for his turn in the lead role of The Best Film This summer “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The female lead is Noomi Rapace, who’s amazing.

They are completely brilliant as is every performer in a brilliantly brooding film based on a Dennis Lehane short story called “Animal Rescue,” which centers on a Brooklyn bar that serves as a money drop for the underworld that gets robbed. Gandolfini plays the proprietor beholden to the mob and Hardy is the quiet and lonely and seemingly dimwitted barkeep who’d probably gut you if you called him a “mixologist.” So would I. And he’s about as dimwitted as Einstein it turns out.

The film is appropriately dark and overloaded with wonderfully lyrical and smart dialogue all the while imbued with a sinister tension that never lets up right to the twist ending. Plus there’s an adorable puppy in it. Named Rocco. After Saint Rocco, patron saint of dogs. And falsely accused people.

This one snuck under my radar in its theatrical release. I’m so glad I lucked into and you will be too. Put it on your list.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."