“THE DROP” My rating: C+ (Opens Sept. 12 at the Glenwood Arts, Eastglen 16 and Cinetopia theaters)
106 minutes | MPAA rating: R
One of these days Tom Hardy is going to star in a film equal to his talents and then, hoo boy, watch out.
Until then we’re going to have to be satisfied with the Brit actor being the best thing in flawed efforts like “Lawless,” “Locke” and “Warrior” or as a first-rate supporting player in films like “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Inception.”
In “The Drop” the native Londoner plays Bob Saginowsky, a mumbling Brooklyn bartender who is so quiet, gentle and inoffensive that he reminds of the inarticulate Brooklyn butcher at the center of 1955’s “Marty” (for which Ernest Borgnine won the Oscar).
The solitary Bob has a soft spot for aged neighborhood lushes who can’t pay their tabs, much to the chagrin of his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), who runs the tavern. He goes to mass several times a week (but never takes communion…what’s up with that?) He lives alone in the house where he grew up…it’s like a time capsule of the 1960s.
And early in the film he adopts an abused pit bull puppy he discovers whimpering in a trash barrel on a frigid New York night.
For such a low-keyed guy, Bob is in a pretty hairy business. Cousin Marv’s Bar (a few years back Marv was forced to sell it to Chechen gangsters), is one of several “drop bars” where the local bookies deposit their daily take according to a top-secret schedule.
If you know when Marv’s is that day’s drop bar, you might be able to get away with a big haul.
The overly complicated screenplay by Dennis (Mystic River) Lehane — based on one of his short stories — balances Bob’s “domestic” life (including a tentative romance with the dog-loving waitress Nadia, played by Noomi Rapace) against the ever-more-dangerous machinations at the bar.