Friday, 21 November 2014

REVIEW - THE DROP (MICHAEL R ROSKAM)


A close-knit neighbourhood in New York substitutes for the innermost thoughts and feelings of the characters in The Drop. Secrets and lies abound, the criminality of the district keeping truth and honesty at bay; the sensation is one of palpable nervousness, of a wide-eyed terror brimming below bar-tops and beneath wary glares. Roskam's interpretation of Dennis Lehane's pompous mythology (Lehane wrote the short story on which this film is based) transmutes it into personal importance, rather than a broader societal one - with the aid of a talented cast of actors, he forms a small assemblage of passionate persons, their agendas hidden in plain sight. There's a peculiar, though winning, quality to Roskam's tone that enhances the gently frictional, tangibly tense feel to The Drop: verbal exchanges between characters elicit comical idiosyncrasies in their individual relationships, highlighting the little quirks in their behaviours that reside in our memory, fuelling the feeling that not all is exactly as it appears to be amongst them. Meanwhile, Marco Beltrami's string-dominated score undulates between insidiously chromatic chords, expressively signalling inwards, beneath those glares. What Lehane had to say initially may dull the impact, its triteness preventing The Drop from developing a mythology of its own that could have exalted the film to exceptional heights, but the fact that Roskam and this cast is evidently capable of achieving such a feat remains vividly obvious in their diligent and sensitive approach.