Based on a short story by Dennis Lehane, The Drop follows Tom Hardy’s Bob Saginowski as he and his boss (James Gandolfini’s Marv) find themselves at the center of a robbery investigation involving shady mobsters and tenacious cops – with the story also detailing Bob’s decision to adopt an abused dog and his growing friendship with Noomi Rapace’s Nadia. There’s little doubt that The Drop fares best in its impressively engrossing opening stretch, as director Michaël R. Roskam and scripter Lehane do a superb job of establishing the movie’s blue-collar landscape and the various figures that inhabit it – with Hardy’s striking turn as the soft spoken central character certainly playing a pivotal role in cementing the picture’s early success. (It’s clear, too, that the film benefits substantially from Gandolfini’s typically commanding work and his palpable chemistry with Hardy.) The meandering midsection is, as a result, probably more disappointing than one might’ve envisioned, and it’s impossible not to wish Lehane had jettisoned some of the story’s more overtly tedious digressions and diversions (including an ongoing emphasis on Bob’s encounters with Matthias Schoenaerts’ sketchy Eric Deeds). The note-perfect conclusion ensures that The Drop does, at least, end on an exceedingly positive note, which ultimately confirms the movie’s place as a watchable (yet all-too-erratic) piece of work.
**1/2 out of ****