Prior to seeing ‘The Drop’ I was largely unfamiliar with the late James Gandolfini’s work. Having heard great praise of his acting talent, I was intrigued to see for myself. And not only does Gandolfini deliver a fantastic performance in the film but ‘The Drop’ is a gripping crime drama from beginning to end that keeps its audience guessing throughout.

Tom Hardy plays bartender Bob, the protagonist of the film who is embroiled in a complex web of crime after the disappearance of a young boy and a money laundering scheme run by his boss, Cousin Marv, played by Gandolfini.

What director Michaël Roskam manages to accomplish most brilliantly is the characterisation of the film’s main players. No one is black-and-white good or bad here and we are never entirely sure of the characters’ motives until the suspenseful climax.

Like any good crime drama, ‘The Drop’ is a slow burn, building tension through dialogue and character interaction rather than action. Even though Marv seems to be the most complex character in the film, and the way Gandolfini transitions between sides of the character is fantastic, Bob is undoubtedly the most fascinating.

Tom Hardy is equally amazing here; his portrayal of Bob, who seems slightly autistic and unreactive, is subtle and nuanced and perfect. His love interest, Nadia, played by the also-talented Noomi Rapace, acts as a catalyst for Bob’s character growth, as she helps him learn to care for his new dog Rocco while he tries to juggle Marv’s unravelling scheme.

Eventually, all the elements of the plot tie together in what is a rather confronting twist in the final act, that forces the audience to question their own morality and the meaning of justice. The pacing of ‘The Drop’ is such that it moves along quickly enough that we never get bored but slowly enough that it never feels rushed.

‘The Drop’ is a great modern example of its genre with complex, flawed characters and brilliant direction. If you’re lucky enough to get the chance to see it, I highly recommend doing so. James Gandolfini’s final film is a great one.

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