“The Drop” TIFF 2014 Reviews Round-Up

The Drop” premiered during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and the first reviews are coming in. The movie has received good reviews so far and it currently holds a 80% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. While critics do recognize flaws in the movie they all seem to praise the cast’s performance and especially Tom Hardy’s work is getting a lot of praise. We will round-up the reviews in this post.

The Guardian | Paul MacInnes | September 7, 2014) | 3/5 stars
“The energy in the movie comes from Mickey and Bob’s adversaries. Firstly there’s Detective Torres (John Ortiz), a classic Colombo type, always playing innocent with a look of childish bemusement on his face. Secondly, and lifting the drama whenever he appears, is Matthias Schoenaerts’s Eric Deeds. Roski’s lead in Bullhead (and subsequently the breakout star of Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone) Schoenaerts fills Deeds to the brim with moxy. Every time he appears, usually to confront Bob, usually about a dog, there’s a sense that anything could happen; most likely violence, but perhaps a theatrical flourish with an umbrella. Simply speaking, Eric Deeds is the Joker in a shell suit.”

Twitch Film | Ryland Aldrich | September 6, 2014)
“On top of introducing us to Roskam, Bullhead also marked the arrival of Matthias Schoenaerts (who went on to star in Rust and Bone, among other films). Schoenaerts returns in The Drop as the demented ex-boyfriend Eric. While certainly a smaller role than Bullhead’s Jacky, Schoenaerts plays Eric’s unstable persona with frightening vigor, pointing to more great things to come from the Belgian. But Schoenaerts is just one piece of an extremely well put-together cast. This film’s most defining characteristic is the stellar acting across the board.”

JoBlo | Chris Bumbray | September 6, 2014)
“While everyone is very good (with Schoenaerts a particular stand-out) this is Hardy’s show all the way with him virtually never off-screen. While THE DROP isn’t one of the real TIFF standouts, it’s still a really solid film, and a strong-piece of character-driven drama in the style of seventies auteurs like Sidney Lumet. Roskam has a real flair for crafting sensitive character pieces in a macho, hardcore gangster universe. While it’s not up to BULLHEAD, it’s a strong English-language debut, and worth checking-out.”

Variety | Justin Chang | September 5, 2014)
“Slapping on a persuasive Noo Yawk accent and eliminating all traces of the suavity he’s displayed elsewhere, Hardy is so good here that it almost doesn’t matter that Bob feels like a somewhat hollow construct in the end, engineered to stir the audience’s compassion and their bloodlust simultaneously. In his English-language filmmaking debut, Roskam has pointedly cast both his countryman Schoenaerts (“Bullhead”) and Swedish actress Rapace (best known for the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” movie trilogy), neither of whom blends as seamlessly into the Brooklyn background as Hardy does, but who both prevail on the strength of their screen magnetism alone.”

The Wrap | Alonso Duralde | September 5, 2014)
“The Drop offers up some twists as we get to know Bob and discover what lurks beneath his placid surface, but his character is about the only substance that the movie can muster. Not that the performances aren’t consistently magnetic: Belgian Schoenaerts, who previously worked with director Michaël R. Roskam on “Bullhead,” brings equal conviction to playing skeevy and playing American, and Gandolfini’s never-was wiseguy is about a million steps behind Tony Soprano on the organized-crime food chain.”

THR | John DeFore | September 5, 2014)
“A sharp, character-rooted crime film. The kind of solid, honest-feeling mean-streets movie you might think they only make in Boston these days, Michael R. Roskam’s The Drop was, in fact, set there before filmmakers decided to shake things up by moving it to Brooklyn.”

NJ | Stephen Whitty | September 6, 2014) | 3 stars
“An enjoyable, grimy little crime drama, with a few overly arty camera angles but enough flashes of honest emotion (and at least two surprisingly cold bits of violence) to make it worth your while.”

Digital Spy | Zeba Blay | September 8, 2014) | 4/5 stars
“The Drop, while not necessarily a masterpiece, is at the very least a worthy addition to the gangster movie genre. Rather than merely romanticise the gritty world of violence it thrusts us into, it asks far more compelling questions about the kind of mental and emotional toll such a world can have on the human psyche.”

Screen Daily | Allan Hunter | September 6, 2014)
“Roskam has the confidence to let Lehane’s story and Runyonesque individuals have space to breathe and develop before he starts to tighten the screws. He also brings out the best in his cast from a compelling Hardy, to the charismatic Matthias Schoenaerts and the late James Gandolfini exuding affable ambiguity as a slippery character who has never quite been reconciled with the loss of his power or the fatal flaws in his nature. The Drop is one last, stirring reminder of what a great character actor Gandolfini was.”

Telegraph | Tim Robey | September 7, 2014) | 4/5 stars
“t also has a director, the Belgian Michaël R Roskam, with perfect credentials for poking around in these unexamined male psyches. His last film, Bullhead, was about a wounded mutt in human form, played in a galvanising breakthrough performance by this film’s Matthias Schoenaerts. Schoenaerts, John Ortiz as a cynical cop, and a never-better Rapace lend a lot of grit and magnetism. But it’s Hardy’s performance, above everything else, that sneaks up on you.”

IndieWire | Rodrigo Perez | September 5, 2014) | C-
“It’s tempting to blame the misguided nature of the movie on language. This is, after all, Roskam’s English-language feature debut—and it is a sort of fascinating master class in painfully redundant dialogue and needlessly dumb banter—but the film’s issues feel much more elemental. A movie starring Hardy, one of the last appearances of James Gandolfini, along with Rapace, Schoenaerts, Ann Dowd, as directed by Michael Roskam and written by Denis Lehane, should be an highlight in any year. But the tepid final product is a big derivative misfire caught in its own featureless leash. An uninspired movie, “The Drop” would be utterly forgettable if it weren’t for the fact that you’re left wondering how all this talent created something so unexceptional. Stale also from the start, it doesn’t take long to figure out this dog won’t hunt.”