"The Drop" is centered on a gritty Brooklyn bar owned by a Chechen crime syndicate that uses it as a cover for illicit money exchanges.

It stars the great Tom Hardy and features a script by Dennis Lehane ("Mystic River") based on his own short story.

It's also the last movie completed by James Gandolfini.

But the movie is a ponderous effort, an earthbound trod through familiar urban noir territory without the engaging characters or meaningful themes required to make such terrain seem new again.

Hardy adopts a halting gait and an accent that frankly sounds more like what it is -- an English man trying to sound "Brooklyn" than an actual Brooklynite -- to play quiet bartender Bob Saginowski, caught up in the drama alongside Cousin Marv (Gandolfini) when the mob's money is stolen from their bar.

Filmmaker Michaël R. Roskam enlivens things with expressive street scenes -- you can practically feel the winter chill throughout the desolate terrain -- and an eye for both the action of under-the-table operations as well as the stillness that comes with a main character so engulfed in his inner life.

The material lends itself to a succinct, tightly-wound crime picture but the filmmakers have greater ambitions: they're trying to evoke the feel of a wilting blue-collar community. The approach simply doesn't work. The characters are so withdrawn they practically vanish, the milieu feels more like a crime novelist's imaginary vision of Brooklyn than the reality and there are long stretches where the only tangible emotion is boredom.

 

 

Directed by Michaël R. Roskam | Starring Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace | Rated R