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A Brooklyn bartender finds himself caught between the cops and a crew of Chechen mobsters, in this gritty crime drama starring Tom Hardy, Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust & Bone), Noomi Rapace and the late, great James Gandolfini.

Tom Hardy delivers his most accomplished performance to date in the English-language debut from acclaimed Belgian director Michaël R. Roskam (Bullhead). Hardy is Bob Saginowski, a Brooklyn bartender who's as big-hearted as he is streetwise. The bar is Cousin Marv's, a neighbourhood watering hole that doubles as a drop bar — a place for its owners, some local Chechen gangsters, to launder money.

Bob and Marv walk a thin line between regular life and the underworld — especially Marv (James Gandolfini), a former crime boss now in the pocket of a new and much crueller operation. When the drop is stolen in a holdup, they must weigh the threat of the Chechens against that of a sharp and curious cop (John Ortiz). Bob's life is further complicated by a chance meeting with a local woman, Nadia (Noomi Rapace), and it isn't long before his own past returns to haunt him.

Using grey, misty hues and a foreboding atmosphere, Roskam sets a nuanced character study in a world of moral ambiguity. Hardy comprises its centre in a typically heavyweight — if deceptively slow-building — turn, surrounded by a splendid international cast including Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Belgian (and soon-to-be Hollywood) star Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead, Rust and Bone), and Gandolfini in his riveting final performance. Roskam lends a distinctly European sensibility to The Drop's very American milieu, allowing the film to move naturally toward a gripping conclusion that will leave hearts racing and minds wondering: just which of these animals truly needs rescuing?

CAMERON BAILEY

Michaël R. Roskam

Michaël R. Roskam was born in Flanders. He studied at the St. Lucas Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels and received his master's degree from the Binger Film Institute in Amsterdam before working as a journalist. His feature directorial debut, Bullhead (11), received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The Drop (14) is his second feature.

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