It builds, steady and unsettling, suspense peaking around
the corners and into the windows of every scene. The haunting music and gray
sky push toward a heart-pounding climax until, finally, it drops.
The Drop, Laemmle
Theaters Claremont 5’s latest film, is the
psychological-thriller-meets-crime-drama for which I’ve been waiting. It’s so
rich in intricate character development and plot that the film doesn’t have the
time, or perhaps the budget, for often overdone and clichéd car chases,
shootouts, or gratuitous sex.
Written by Dennis Lehane, the creator of Shutter Island, The Drop evokes true-felt fear through consistent suspense-building and
a strong sense of realism. But by all means, if you haven’t had enough exploding buildings and machine guns by now, go ahead and watch The Expendables 3.
Based in underground, crime-ridden Brooklyn, The Drop follows bartender Bob
Saginowski (played by Tom Hardy, best known for The
Dark Knight Rises) dangerously deep into the convoluted system of ‘money
What’s money dropping, you may ask? In short, it’s every
robber’s dream and, simultaneously, a setup for disaster. Local gangsters, pimps, and all other forms of illegal money launderers gather at “the drop bar,” an established safe place for their stolen cash to spend the night.
Cousin Marv’s Tavern, located in the depths of Brooklyn, is just the spot for a
weekly drop, but it’s made clear from the get-go that nice guy Bob should not have a part
in the criminal activity.
Weaving through back alleys and side plots, The Drop slowly works its way up to the central tension and pieces together the web of underground Brooklyn. Surprisingly, Bob’s main troubles come from Rocco, an abused and abandoned pit bull puppy that he rescues from a trash can.
Through Rocco, Bob meets both his hesitant love interest
Nadia and his main conflict, the psychotic killer Eric Deeds. Each character
and event further juxtaposes his ‘good’ with his neighbors’ ‘bad.’ But then again,
why has Bob never taken communion at the failing local church that he attends? And thus, the plot thickens.
Still, The Drop’s
unorthodox nature does not end at Bob’s complex character or the inclusion of a
puppy in a violent drama. We’ve all heard cheesy crime genre quips before—Law
and Order’s ridiculous puns, the snappy lines and bad acting that make up
Mission Impossible—but these tedious clichés have no place in the script or the
acting of The Drop. It simply feels
real—a notable success for an audience that sees most of its crime from a
living room couch.
Whether it’s Tom Hardy’s exceptional acting or Dennis
Lehane’s inspired script, the authenticity of The Drop is apparent in almost every scene. This can be seen
throughout the movie in suspense-building scenes showing only Bob walking Rocco,
yet music and a ‘watching camera’ create the illusion of danger.
An example of this realism can be seen in a less
dramatic—yet clearly important—scene depicting Bob and Nadia’s budding
relationship. In this particular scene, Bob finally gathers the courage to give
Nadia his number.
“Do you have a pen?” he asks, fumbling awkwardly in his
pockets when she shakes her head no. Bob hands her the pen and anxiously asks,
“Does it work?”
Bob’s discomfort is palpable, and his nervous chatter strikes
a true and relatable chord. Instead of building character and drama through
action and violence, The Drop focuses
its time on small, yet lifelike moments that make the final suspense all the more
So no, you’re not likely to find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dolphin
Tale 2 or any of the other high-budget box office films playing at
Laemmle’s Claremont 5, but what you will find might exceed expectations. As a theater focused mostly on independent films (don’t worry,
they’ll still have the new Hunger Games
this November), Laemmle often selects high-quality movies that defy genre norms. The Drop’s poster and trailer may not
look any different from your average action movie, but it left me with the
core-shaking feeling that only true suspense can evoke.
But don’t believe me, just watch.
Sawyer Henshaw SC ’17 is a media studies major. Believe it or not, the film columnist wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated movies until she was 17 years old.