Tom Hardy is the reason to watch this Brooklyn crime drama, the English-language debut of Belgian director Michaël R Roskam (‘Bullhead’). Mostly set in a dark Irish pub and based on a Dennis Lehane short story, ‘The Drop’ focuses on a trio of working-class characters shivering through one chilly January. Hardy is Bob, a simple guy who works behind the bar. Behind him sits Marv (James Gandolfini), the gruff owner who knows that, on some nights, his place becomes a laundry for dirty money. Noomi Rapace is a waitress who warily lets Bob into her life after he finds a puppy in her rubbish bin.
Adorable as that dog is, it can’t bear the symbolic weight thrust on it: a fragile thing with fearsome potential. That’s the whole of this dingy-looking film in shorthand. As the bar is robbed by the pooch’s original owner (Matthias Schoenaerts), then targeted for a bigger sting, you wait for ominous clouds to fulminate. They never quite do. Until the movie’s showdown, ‘The Drop’ ambles along, less a simmering pot than a cooling one. J