Posted by Ken Burke On October - 9 - 2014 0 Comment

112636_galI’m mostly going to use comments on Gone Girl as a means to open up some thoughts on depictions of criminals in current films so that I can focus more on one, The Drop, that hasn’t gotten nearly the attention that the press and the ticket-buying public have lavished on Fincher’s big splash with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in the primary roles (but with excellent supporting work from others in the cast including Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, and Kim Dickens—with the latter probably being the one you’d least recognize by name [at least if you were me, although she’s done quite a bit of work, especially in TV, that just hasn’t encountered my foggy awareness nor registered much with me], so look for her as local Missouri police detective Rhonda Boney who adds a fine touch of ambiguity about the supposed guilt of Nick Dunne [Affleck] for murdering his wife, Amy [Pike]).  As with many other critics, for the benefit of those of you who haven’t yet read Gillian Flynn’s novel from which this film is adapted (she wrote the screenplay as well, so if you have any problem with the story structure blame her instead of Fincher, although I have nothing but praise for both of them), I won’t divulge the very intriguing plot twists (although if you’re already aware of what happens or just don’t mind have a good thriller unraveled before you see it you can consult my detailed review) because much of the joy of the way this narrative works out is in how the competing protagonists (most would call one of them the clear antagonist, but I think they’re both too flawed for that) keep outmaneuvering the audience until everything comes to some sense of closure at the end.

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On the other hand, I’d probably do you a favor by giving away the secrets of The Drop because by the time I got around to seeing and writing about it (in that same review noted above of Gone Girl) it has almost disappeared from first-run release so you may just have to try to remember to find it somewhere on video anyway.  Be that as it may, though, I’ll still stay vague in my comments here except to encourage you to seek this out because of the fine lead performance by Tom Hardy (who you’d likely not recognize at all if you just know him as the mad villain, Bane, from the last Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises).  Here Hardy is a quiet bartender in a place nominally under the control of James Gandolfini’s tired, frustrated character, a guy beaten down by changes in the structure of underworld life in Brooklyn that has left a Chechen gang in charge and some of our characters very interested in that gang’s modus operandi of dumping each night’s criminal cash at some designated bar, with the hope that someday it will be at Cousin Marv’s (Gandolfini) place.  The circumstances here are just as grim although more low-key than in Gone Girl with an equal amount of surprises, especially toward the end.  Even if you have to hunt for The Drop sometime later I encourage you to make the effort to see an unexpected exploration of crime in the very big city.

I also encourage you to make any comments you’d like on any of this; they can be left here, at the blog review site, at LinkedIn’s Film Addicts or World Cinema Critics discussion groups, or sent directly to me at kenburke409@gmail.com.

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