Quiet and meek Bob (Hardy) works for his cousin Marv (Gandolfini) as a bar tender. But this no ordinary bar, it was what’s known as a drop bar. A drop bar is where all the dirty money (drugs, crime etc) ends up on any given morning. The drop bars change each night, each bar given just a few days notice that it will be their turn.
When Cousin Marv’s bar is robbed, the bad guys, The Chechnyans in this case, want their money back. Both Marv and Bob were involved with the criminal underworld in there younger years but avoid it when they can now. This time they have little choice.
One night while walking home, Bob finds a beaten puppy dumped in the garbage bin of Nadia (Rapace). He rescues the animal and with Nadia’s help, they nurse Rocco back to health. The pair become friends with Nadia helping out with Rocco while Bob works and as they begin to spend more time together, Nadia’s jealous ex boyfriend Eric (Schoenaerts) threatens Bob. Eric is a well-known criminal who has gained notoriety as a cop killer but Bob is unimpressed.
I am not a huge fan of this genre but as it was Gandolfini’s final role, I wanted to take a look. Oh and there is Tom Hardy whose presence never did any movie any harm 😉
Gandolfini brings a certain something to all his roles. From a gruff romantic lead (Enough Said) to a tortured soul (The Mexican), there is always more than meets the eye. With Marv, there is the feeling that lurking just below the surface is a man ready to explode. He hates that he lost his bar to the Chechnyans and he is dealing with major family issues. Bob tempers him and keeps things calm. But for how long?
Hardy, long known as an actor to watch, does nothing but add fuel to that fire. His performance is subtle and nuanced. A cliché but true here. Alas it is only in hindsight, once the final act has played, that you truly appreciate this aspect of his performance. Still waters do run very, very deep.
Rapace offers balance to the story. A friend and potential love interest but with scars of her own, she plays Nadia with a determined bravado that belies the fears she strives to cover.
I really enjoyed this movie. It is a slow-moving piece, more drama than guns but if you like mafia type action movies, this is the one for you. It pulls no punches and has an ending you wont see coming.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Love Flick xx
Director : Michaël R. Roskam
Starring : Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aronov, Morgan Spector, Ann Dowd, Michael Esper, James Frecheville
Running Time : 106 minutes
Release Date : 13 November 2014