THE DROP

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THE DROP is an excellent crime drama about a lonely bartender with a shady past working in a bar owned by Russian mobsters from Chechnya. The bartender’s life is changed by a woman and a dog he finds beaten and abandoned in the woman’s trashcan. THE DROP has some strong Christian, redemptive themes that make for uplifting, stimulating viewing, but it’s set in a dark, criminal world, so it has some content requiring strong caution.
Narrated briefly by Bob the bartender, the movie opens in Cousin Marv’s Bar in Brooklyn where Bob is working as a bartender with his older cousin one night. The bar has long been one of the occasional “drops” for the city’s mobsters, who use one bar each night to bank their ill-gotten gains. Using a different bar each night helps the gangsters stay ahead of the police and limit their chances of being robbed.
The regular customers are honoring the mysterious disappearance of a local sports hero 10 years ago that very night. The young man’s body has never been found. A local psychotic individual named Eric Deeds is rumored to have killed the young hero but no one’s been able to prove that. Despite this, Eric does nothing to dispel the rumors.
When the customers leave, two masked gunmen suddenly arrive and take the $8,000 in cash Marv and Bob have in the register. Bob notices one of the gunmen has a broken watch on his wrist. The watch is stopped at 6:15. Bob accidentally blurts out this fact to the detective handling the case. This upsets Marv for some reason.
As Bob walks back to his house from the bar, he hears the sounds of a whimpering dog coming from a trashcan sitting in a front yard waiting for pickup the next morning. Bob opens the trashcan and discovers the puppy, a pitbull, has a bloody wound on its head. A young woman, Nadia, comes outside from the house to see what’s happening. Nadia used to volunteer at an animal shelter. She informs Bob that the dog has some knots on its head indicating it’s been beaten regularly by its owner. She urges Bob to take the dog home, but he tells her it’s too much responsibility for him. Nadia points out that, if he takes the dog to a local shelter, the mean owner might come back to get it, and the dog could soon be back in that horrible situation. However, Bob convinces her to keep it until Saturday, when he assures her he’ll return to pick it up.
About eight years ago, some mobsters from Chechnya, the country taken over by the Russians in 1859, took Cousin Marv’s bar away from him. The next day, the leader’s thuggish but well-dressed son comes to Marv and Bob demanding that they find the $8,000 and return it to him. The mobster is intrigued by Bob’s story of the broken watch. He wants to know what else Bob may know about the robbers, but Bob says he knows nothing else.
Soon after that, however, the movie reveals that Cousin Marv is actually behind the robbery. Marv, who lives with his sister, meets with one of the robbers. It becomes clear that Marv is thinking about robbing the drop money from the Chechen mobsters the next night they pick his bar for the drop.
Meanwhile, Bob does indeed come back to pick up the cute little pitbull from Nadia. Soon, she’s helping him take care of the dog, whom they name Rocco after the statue of a Catholic saint at the local church Bob frequents.
At one point in his life, St. Rocco became sick and was banished to the forest, where, miraculously, a dog from a local duke’s castle brought him bread. So, the statue of St. Rocco in Bob’s church features a dog by the saint’s side.
Ironically, the detective handling the robbery also goes to the same church and has recognized Bob as a frequent visitor during mass. The detective always takes communion during the church services and wonders why Bob never does take the communion but faithfully attends the services. Tellingly, Bob avoids giving the detective an answer.
Coincidentally to all this plot development, it turns out that the alleged psychotic killer, Eric Deeds, happens to be Nadia’s abusive ex-boyfriend. He starts stalking Bob and Nadia, who so far are just close friends. Eric also happens to be the mean owner of Rocco the dog. Eventually, Eric demands that Bob return the dog to him, or he’ll report Bob to the police. He also threatens to do something to Nadia. Then, he tells Bob he’ll let Bob keep the dog, but only if he gives Eric $10,000.
At the same time, Cousin Marv finally learns from the mobsters that his bar will be the drop for them on Super Bowl night, their most lucrative night of the year. Things are really looking up for Marv to get his revenge against these mobsters who not only took his bar but also took away his livelihood as a loan shark and bookie, with Bob as his enforcer.
The stage is now set for a great third act, which comes with a powerful, shocking twist. The stakes are beautifully heightened when Marv suddenly decides to get rid of his partner and make Eric, Bob’s new nemesis, his new partner for the big heist.
THE DROP is beautifully written, directed, acted, and shot. The writer, director, cast, and crew do a great job in making viewers care about the story, especially what will happen to Bob, Nadia and the cute little dog. They also create suspense regarding what the villains, Cousin Marv, Eric and the mobsters will do.
Meanwhile, Tom Hardy (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, INCEPTION and LODGE) turns in a brilliantly nuanced performance as Bob, the lonely but pensive bartender who cares about little dogs and is kind to others but has a shady past involving his revenge-minded cousin, played wonderfully by the late James Gandolfini. At one point, Bob suspects his cousin Marv is up to something and may even have decided to rob the mobsters of their drop money. Bob visits Marv at Marv’s house. While Bob is there, Marv’s sister leaves to go to work, but reminds Marv to eat something. This is a daily part of her ritual with her brother, who’s clearly annoyed by her nagging him to eat something all the time. After she’s gone, Bob reminds Marv he had his chance eight years ago when the mobsters confronted Marv and Bob, but Marv blinked and backed down. Let the past go, Bob says. And, don’t forget to eat something, Bob adds as he leaves. The pained, annoyed look on Gandolfini’s face as Tom Hardy says that line is priceless, as is Hardy’s delivery of the line.
The Christian, spiritual themes in THE DROP are masterfully woven into the movie’s performances and into the movie’s themes of loneliness, guilt, crime, redemption, and past sins. At one point in Bob’s brief narration, Bob gives a reason for why he doesn’t take communion. There comes a point in time when a person has committed too many sins, he says. At that point, he adds, the person can’t get loose from the Devil’s grasp, and, when he dies, God in Heaven will turn him away from Paradise, where the eternal punishment for the person is total loneliness and total separation from others. Thus, the big question in the movie is: Can and will Bob really be rescued from his sins? The movie’s ending says that he can and he will. This is an uplifting quality about the movie’s story. However, the movie’s last shot also has a slight antinomian implication. Thus, although it’s clear that Bob regrets his past sins and has purposely isolated himself from other people because of them, he’s not above committing sudden deadly violence if someone threatens innocent, vulnerable people or dogs. At what point, however, does such violence go too far and require an additional rebuke or demand another act of repentance?
Of course, the Bible says there are no sins that can’t be redeemed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if one repents. However, movies sometimes have or create borderline issues that warrant caution, and such may be the case with THE DROP.
THE DROP has lots of strong foul language. The “f” word is frequently used, for example. There’s also a couple really strong but very brief bursts of violence, including a pointblank shooting and an implication that the mobsters are torturing some man in a van (some blood is seen here). In addition, at one point, a severed arm is found, and the arm is carefully wrapped and eventually tossed into the ocean. Other than that, most of the menace in the movie comes from threats of violence. You just never know what the mobsters or the psychotic villain, or Cousin Marv for that matter, are going to do.
Because of the foul language, violence and menace, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution. Media-wise viewers should also note that, despite the movie’s strong Christian, moral worldview overall, the movie’s set in a dark world where criminality rules, and people sometimes cooperate with the criminals or have to kill them to survive.

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