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The Drop: A Review

“Few movies depict a culture as organically as this one. Quite the pot boiler, The Drop is very much alive, thanks to both its performances and its writing. Contemporary to a ‘T’, but subtle enough not to be a heavy handed message tale. This is absolutely an American story, and absolutely one that is happening now and across the country. Cinema of The Great Recession, this is.”

The Brooklyn as depicted in The Drop is quite the defeated place. Local gangs used to rule the streets proudly. Everyone knew who to fear and where to go for a favor. Years later, out of town outfits have carved the region up, buying out formerly unique properties and turning them into uniform franchises, who take orders with a smile and without question. It’s a sad existence, but maybe it’s better to keep your head down than to rise up in any way. After all, you can always be replaced.

A mob with the Wal Mart mentality. Trickle down treatment of labor applied to thugs. America today.

Tom Hardy plays Bob, a bartender who is content at just getting by. He’s a wheel in a most squeaky machine, turning day in and day out. He goes to church, but never takes communion. Why? “That’s my business,” he says quietly. Everything, from his speech to his reactions, he does quietly. Not without emotion, mind you. By no means is he apathetic towards others – he’s just at peace with who he is. Almost zen. Scary zen.

The late James Gandolfini plays Cousin Marv, a man on the opposite end of the spiritual spectrum. He used to be one of those guys people respected and feared at once. Until his reputation got bought out. Now, he just runs a bar. The older he gets, the more he regrets, the stronger his anger becomes. He’s willing to strike, no matter the personal cost.

The looming threat of the “new” mob hangs over this neighborhood like the sky. They seem to know what you’re thinking before you think it, and act almost pre-emptively. For the desperate, low income workers who wish to retire, any opportunity to fight back in any way would be too good to miss. For the younger folk, this is just how life is, scraping by and enjoying what you can, when you can. There is a Drop between generations, and surely some will fall into it.

Well wishes and greetings are thrown around a lot, layered with heavy insinuations and things left unsaid. It kills me, when characters are clearly being rude and suggesting bad things about one another, but do so with such “pleasantries.” Horrible things happen behind closed doors, but are discussed with knowing nods and salutations. Service with a smile? Lessons from parents or religion? Few movies depict a culture as organically as this one.

Quite the pot boiler, The Drop is very much alive, thanks to both its performances and its writing. Contemporary to a ‘T’, but subtle enough not to be a heavy handed message tale. This is absolutely an American story, and absolutely one that is happening now and across the country. Cinema of The Great Recession, this is. It doesn’t need to be said, when it’s being lived so vividly. Things are getting better, but not as quickly for most. Until that point, more dirty money will change between dirty hands and more loud mouths have got to go missing. You wouldn’t want to lose your slice of the pie, would you? Be quiet. Be content.

  • Bill Arceneaux

 

For more from the author, follow him on twitter @billreviews and visit his blog The New Vitascopes on Medium.com.

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