Will It Make A Good Film?: The Drop

The Drop

Release Date:  September 12, 2014

Director: Michael R. Roskam

Based On: Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane, published in 2009.

Overview: Brooklyn bartender Bob Saginowski finds his largely boring life interrupted by the scrutiny of a robbery, an enigmatic woman, and an abused puppy.

A Unique Adaptation:  The Drop isn’t your average literary adaptation.  Dennis Lehane published Animal Rescue back in 2009 as part of a short story collection called Boston Noir, which includes several other noir stories that take place in various neighborhoods around Boston.  Later, Lehane was approached to expand this story into a film entitled The Drop.  After he completed writing the screenplay for the film, he proceeded to expand it into a novel with the same name, which was released on September 2nd.  How many times can you say you’ve read a book that’s been based on a movie (fan fiction doesn’t count)?  What does it say about the movie if you still like the book better?  Can it really be judged as a literary adaptation if it’s based in a short story and then adapted into a novel?  These are the questions I’ve been asking myself since I learned the story behind this film and read both Animal Rescue and The Drop.  

According to an interview with the author in Boston Magazine, Animal Rescue was the result of Dennis Lehane’s failed attempt at a novel version of the story from 2002.  A possible strike against this unique movie/novel experiment is that this story has now been told three times since a previously abandoned novel attempt.  However, in Dennis Lehane I trust.  As the only person who touched the script for the movie, audiences can be confident that the story he envisioned is the one that’s being told on the screen.  I’m a big fan of his writing, and the quality of movies produced from some of his previous novels (Shutter Island, Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) are a testament to how seamlessly Lehane’s words translate to the big screen.

The Other Major Players:  If you are a female and you actually managed to scroll through the photo at the top of this page to read this feature, you deserve a prize. Guys, if your significant other isn’t into gritty crime dramas, just tell her Tom Hardy adopts a puppy and she’ll go with you in a heartbeat.  Hardy has been flexing his dramatic acting muscles this year, and the positive buzz he’s created with his stellar performance in Locke has only increased his appeal.  The Drop was also the late James Gandolfini’s final film, and the role of Cousin Marv is perfectly suited for the compelling presence he has always brought to the table.

Although the director, Michael R. Roskam, is relatively unknown, his 2012 film Bullhead earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film.  So although we can’t be sure what to expect from him, that track record is promising.

Verdict – Will It Make A Good Film?  The cast of heavy hit hitters combined with Dennis Lehane’s involvement leads all signs to point toward yes.