OUT OF 4
Belgian director Michael Roskam infuses his first English-language film with a sinister mood that draws you into this crime drama written by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) It is a solid, slow-moving film which becomes a tour de force of acting virtuosity from its stars Tom Hardy and the last film from the late James Gandolfini.
Gandolfini plays Marv, a small time crook who runs a dumpy Brooklyn bar that serves as a money drop for Chechen gangsters. A drop is a place where dirty money is deposited nightly prior to being laundered.
Tom Hardy, who is pitch perfect, plays a bartender named Bob Saginowski, a lonely guy who pretty much keeps to himself. Walking home one night he hears a noise in a trash can and discovers a pit bull puppy. He makes friends with Nadia (Noomi Rapace) whose trash can it happens to be. Soon we meet the puppy’s original owner and all that money at Marv’s bar attracts attention that causes serious problems.
Lehane based his script on his short story titled “Animal Rescue”about redemption for the dog and Bob. The story and characters have a vague resemblance to the film “Drive”. But, the reason you should see this film is Tom Hardy’s performance. It is amazing. Hardy, who is British, captures a flawless Brooklyn accent and makes you remember the film long after the lights are back on in the theatre.