Besides being a really nice send-off for James Gandolfini, as well further affirmation that Tom Hardy's the real deal, there's really only one reason for The Drop to exist: to give somebody a film to see when they're just looking for something to watch at night, perhaps are too tired to engage in a challenging piece of cinema, but still want to see something well-made, well-acted, and worth their while. The Drop is the ideal film for such a night.
It's a really simple movie, and while the story contains a few secrets, it's never particularly difficult to follow. The film is low key and rife with quiet scenes of dialogue, yet it also moves well, with enough shady characters, occasional bits of violence, and threats to keep one easily engaged. As a whole though there's a relaxing simplicity to the film, which is largely due to the fact that Dennis Lehane's script is based off of his short story Animal Rescue. And the film really does feel like a short story stretched to feature length, especially when one considers that what seems like a cute little subplot involving a dog turns out to be the core element of the film. And even a little twist at the end serves more as closure and clarification than complication. In one sense there barely seems to be enough material in The Drop to sustain its running time of 106 minutes, and yet that's also why the movie is so easy to watch. One never feels overwhelmed by the story or the characters, and the smallness of the whole thing makes it ideal for those aforementioned middlebrow watching nights. It gives one the sense that they are seeing something worthwhile that's also easy to consume and that won't make them riled up afterwards and unable to sleep. When you wake up, chances are you'll have already started to forget about it.