By Jeff Labrecque
Updated September 22, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT
Barry Wetcher

There’s a lot of repressed rage in The Drop, a Dennis Lehane crime story about a lonely Brooklyn barkeep who’s drawn out of his self-imposed isolation when he rescues a pit-bull puppy from the trash. Tom Hardy’s Bob might have a dark past or he might just be a half-wit — Hardy keeps Bob’s cards close to the vest with a precise performance that values stillness above all else. Bob thinks slowly, but Hardy invests every word and gesture with meaning and power. It’s a gift shared with James Gandolfini, who, in his last big-screen performance, plays Bob’s boss, an underworld Willy Loman who runs the bar that Chechen mobsters use as an occasional money drop. But Gandolfini is still dangerous, wielding that Tony Soprano sideways glance like a shiv, and his final simmering scene with Hardy evokes Lee J. Cobb and Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. Unfortunately, their relationship takes a backseat to Bob’s romance with Nadia (Noomi Rapace), whose connection to the puppy brings him all sorts of trouble. While Gandolfini fills in the gaps and silences, Rapace never colors in her underwritten character, making her a glorified MacGuffin who hangs around far too long. B