Adapted for the screen by novelist Dennis Lehane from his 2009 short story Animal Rescue, The Drop is a solid, dependable crime thriller set predominantly in a Brooklyn bar, which the Chechen mob uses as a collection point for laundered money.
In these boozy and convivial surroundings, romance is kindled, personal ties are frayed and one hard-working member of bar staff contemplates breaking the law for a noble cause: love.
Belgian director Michael R Roskam’s second feature, his follow-up to the Oscar nominated Bullhead, gradually turns the screws, exerting pressure on the characters as they wrestle with their consciences.
Some capitulate while others demonstrate hidden reserves of strength, resourcefulness and aggression that prove you should never judge a book by its well-worn cover.
The Drop is blessed with James Gandolfini’s final screen performance and he is a slippery, brooding presence amid occasional twists of a serpentine plot.
However, it’s chameleonic London-born star Tom Hardy, who wrought havoc on Christian Bale and Gotham as masked madman Bane, who shines brightest.