by Richard Gould
THE DROP is a poignant closer for the actor, who was beginning to show amazing new depths of range and feeling in the second chapter of his career. The Michaël Roskam-directed adaptation of a Dennis Lehane short story has Gandolfini keeping bar at Cousin Marv’s with employee Bob (Tom Hardy), a business arrangement that’s lost all dignity for the pair since a Chechen gang took over the bar and other Brooklyn watering holes some years before. The management has changed but the job’s the same: Turn a profit if possible, and be available to bank thousands in bookie takings on short notice. A holdup there on drop night puts the reliability and loyalty of both men to the test, and local fixer Chovka doesn’t like having any doubts about them. With this spiraling uncertainty at work come new lines of affection for Bob at home: An abandoned dog he finds in neighborhood trash can brings up a powerful protector instinct in him, and Nadia (Noomi Rapace), a woman who rents nearby, helps him care for it. Hardy and Rapace are their usual flawless selves in this tense little gangland drama, full of Brooklyn atmosphere and the deep-dyed characters who inhabit it – along with the sudden left turns Lehane does so well.