A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Drop is a crime drama taken from a story by author Dennis Lehane that stars Tom Hardy (Bane in The Dark Knight Rises). It's violent, with brutal slayings, spatters, and sprays of blood, plus an all-around sense of menace. Even a dog is found in a trash can with blood in its fur. Language is also strong, with many uses of "f--k" and "s--t." There's a romantic subplot, but sex isn't an issue; the relationship remains platonic through almost all of the movie. Much of the movie takes place in a bar, so there's a lot of social and casual drinking, though not really to excess. There's also regular cigarette smoking. This is a fairly grown-up story, so teens likely won't be too interested unless they're die-hard Hardy fans.
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What's the story?
Bob (Tom Hardy) works for his cousin, Marv (the late James Gandolfini), in a bar in a tough New York neighborhood. Occasionally, Chechen crime lords use the bar for their nightly "drops," and Bob must collect and keep packages of money overnight. Things are stable until Bob finds a pit bull puppy in a trash can and decides to rescue him; a woman named Nadia (Noomi Rapace) lends him a hand. Unfortunately, a dangerous-looking thug (Matthias Schoenaerts) comes around, claiming that the dog is his. At the same time, the bar is robbed, and the Chechens come knocking, looking for the stolen cash to be replaced -- all while a police detective (John Ortiz) snoops around. Bob must dig around in dark secrets before making his next move.
Is it any good?
After landing an Oscar nomination for his film Bullhead, Belgian director Michael R. Roskam comes to America for this gritty, streetwise crime drama. The film was written by Dennis Lehane and based on his own short story. Roskam emphasizes character and dialogue first, giving the main characters -- as well as a handful of supporters -- a strong inner life; each one feels as if he or she existed in the outer edges of the story before the movie ever started.
Lehane's sharp, prickly dialogue includes enjoyably lively throwaway moments, while Roskam uses weather to fine effect. Viewers learn through dialogue that it's the Christmas and New Year season, but the film emphasizes drizzly cold, rather than any kind of celebration or joy. The plot, on the other hand, is a tad on the mushy side and doesn't generate an air-tight scheme or much suspense, and the ending is a little too pat. But the performances, especially by Hardy and the late, great Gandolfini, as well as by Bullhead star Schoenaerts, are quite strong.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Drop's brutal violence. How much is shown, and how did it affect you? How is the story served by such violence? Is it necessary to the plot?
How is the story affected by the fact that it takes place in a bar? How much alcohol do characters drink? Do they seem to drink for pleasure or to deal with pain? Are there realistic consequences?
What makes Bob fascinating, given the good and bad sides of his personality? Does one connect to another? Is he someone to admire or emulate?
How did you feel about Nadia and her choice in men? Is she a strong female character or closer to a stereotype?
- In theaters: September 12, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 20, 2015
- Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini
- Director: Michael Roskam
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some strong violence and pervasive language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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