As many different roles as Tom Hardy has immersed himself in, it would appear that most of his critical acclaim comes from the silent yet strong characters the actor portrays in Hollywood. Mystic River, and Gone Baby Gone writer Dennis Lehane has concocted another moody and tension filled crime drama with The Drop. Director Michael Roskam, who also spearheaded the spellbinding Bullhead, masterfully orchestrates rich characters in a vast seedy world.
The movie, starring a subtle yet simmering Tom Hardy, and a powerful posthumous performance by James Gandolfini, pulls no punches into the foreboding as a dark noir film piece. Shot almost entirely in the setting of Marine Park in Brooklyn New York, the story consists of broken down beings, betrayals, and a rescued puppy left behind in a garbage can. Then again, The Drop is not the kind of fictitious tale that is easily wrapped up and placed in a box.
Hardy plays Bob, a mild mannered bartender who works at his cousin Marv’s establishment (played by Gandolfini), who the quaint joint is also named after. At some point, the bar is taken over by brooding Chechen mobsters, who use the place as a watering hole to drop off any number of illegal money transactions. The mob keeps Marv on as the visible owner of the bar so as to not raise suspicions, as Marv is understandably displeased under the new management. So he decides to organize a robbery of his bar on one of the drop nights, but doesn’t tell Bob, who inherits his own problems after finding an abandoned pup, along with a woman who wants to help, Nadia, (honestly played by Noomi Rapace), and a man who wants to hurt, Eric Deeds ( Matthias Schoenaerts).
As intense and pointed as the story of The Drop most certainly is, it would appear that the strong tonality of the film is not that distinct from Hardy’s own off screen persona. Rumors in Hollywood of the actor being particularly rigorous to work with, (even suggesting to the writer to change the ending of the movie, which he ultimately did) suggests that the strong and silent type roles Hardy looks for as an actor, is a stark contrast to his brawny yet boyish reputation. “There are actors that can be still, and act when they’re led on a string,” the director of the film admits. “But with other actors, there is this mentality to not wanna over-work it, and be really good when the camera’s not rolling, and then when it is they just lose it. Tom, I would say is the latter of the two.”
Some of Hardy’s past co-stars have touched on a reclusive, and at times complicated nature that comes from the 37-year-old actor’s dark past, which include addiction and misguided wrath as a youngster. However, many of the same speculators of Hardy’s process admit that any confusion or difficulties they once had, melts away as soon as the director yells action. Said to be an explosive personality who often channels his inner complexities for piercing performances, would make a lot of sense given some of the roles Hardy has chosen. Whether it is portraying a violent convict in Bronson, or a sensitive MMA fighter in Warrior, to a calculated super-villain in The Dark Knight Rises, the future Mad Max star appears to have a very specific method to each madness.
Hardy recently spoke about the loss of one of Hollywood’s most talented actors (another strong yet silent type), and the late actor’s acting process. Upon another look at the mysterious leading man, one cannot help but wonder if Hardy was not subconsciously referring to his own as well. “Gandolfini didn’t like to mess anything up, or get it wrong. If something wasn’t going the way that he may have wanted it to go, he would make very specific suggestions to meet his level of immediate expectations. Sometimes he’d even get angry with himself. In his mind, I would imagine him saying, ‘I am gonna get this right. No matter what it takes.'”
By Theodore Borders
Detroit Free Press