The Drop: a must-see film this Fall

Directed by Michael Roskam and filled with stunning shots and scenes, The Drop is one of the best films of the season.  The story follows the heart-breaking life of Bob the bartender, played by Tom Hardy, and depicts his gentle spirit in the face of a multitude of crimes, which act as a back-drop for the intense inter-character relations and individual monologues that occur throughout the film.

Bob wins over the audience’s hearts within the first twenty minutes when he rescues a beaten dog found trapped in a trashcan. There, he meets Nadia (Noomi Rapace) and we have the background for the perfect romantic comedy: guy saves dog, girl helps take care of dog, they bond over their pseudo-baby and live happily ever after. Story-wise, it’s easy to believe that the film will go in this direction, but the sound and images in these scenes do such a nice job of telling us otherwise.

Roskam uses a filming style reminiscent of cinema verité during the first scenes with Bob and Nadia: the camera peers at them from across the street or through car mirrors, shaking as though it’s handheld. Accompanied by an eerie score and dark lighting, these seemingly happy story moments prepare the audience for a much more serious film.

The promise of darkness and crime is soon fulfilled when Bob’s bar gets robbed, and we learn that the robbery might not have been at random. The film’s namesake comes from the term “drop bar”: a bar in which people protect their drug money by sneaking it into a safe under the beer taps. Bob is in on the fact that his bar serves as a dropping place for a huge, violent Chechan gang, but the consequences grow more serious as his story goes on.

The Drop’s score should be looked to as an impeccable example of how to use ambient, eerie sounds to build suspense throughout an entire feature-length film. I can’t recall any other movie that uses the soundtrack to constantly keep the audience on the edges of their seats, even in the most trivial scenes. Another notable accomplishment is Roskam’s use of the dog, “Rocco”. Bob’s character finds a perfect side-kick in the baby pit bull—a dog known to be misunderstood for its violence—and Rocco adds a heart to the chilling masterpiece by showing us a side of Bob that his patrons and the gang don’t see: the side of him that’s nearly brought to tears at the mere mention of animal cruelty.

The film is, in sum, both compelling and aesthetically pleasing with some of the most unique shots that mainstream Hollywood tends to shy away from (at one point, the camera flips upside down, and in another part, the depth of field is so short that the entire scene is blurry, highlighting the confusion and chaos.) This is a crime film taken to a whole new level, with a heart that is more addicting and interesting than even the crimes themselves.

This review was made possible by Railroad Square Cinemas. Catch “The Drop” daily at 2:15, 4:30 and 6:50 p.m. and check out another great film, “Tusk” this Friday night for Colby’s one-dollar movie night!

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