First there was a short story, “Animal Rescue,” by Dennis Lehane. The author then turned it into a screenplay, and wrote a novel from it after that. (This was the same creation sequence of my short story, “Air Raid,” and my movie script and novel, Millennium.)
This is a competent but not ground-breaking crime story. Well, they can’t all be ground-breaking, can they? The drop is the term for a bar which is selected by the Chechen underworld to receive all the day’s profits from illegal activities. Usually no one knows where it will be until the last minute, thus thwarting both police raids and hold-ups from anyone dumb enough to steal money from Chechens. Cousin Marv’s (James Gandolfini, in his last role) bar is chosen to get the truly massive betting money on Superbowl Sunday (evidently XLIII in 2009, since the final score is announced as 27 to 23, which would have been the Steelers over Arizona). Cousin Marv used to own the bar, but it was basically taken away from him, and he has never gotten over it. He plans to make off with the cash, which could be well over a million. But he picks one of the stupidest, most unstable guys you could imagine to be his partner, and he doesn’t figure in the qualities of his real cousin Bob (Tom Hardy), the bartender, who is much more than he seems. I’ll leave the plot at this point.
It co-stars the fabulous Noomi Rapace, who has been getting a lot of work since her incredible performance in the good (Swedish) version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. The sub-plot is Bob finding a battered pit bull puppy, Rocco, in her garbage bin (she didn’t put it there), and how the little rascal ends up bringing the two of them together as they figure out how to raise him. It’s sweet, and provides a good counterpoint to the tawdry shit going on at the bar. I’d recommend this one to just about anyone. There is violence in it, but mostly it happens off-screen, except for the climax.