Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 20, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 20, 2014



By Sean Kayden

Moody and ominous, “The 
Drop” boosts superb acting by 
the always-dependable Tom 
Hardy and most of its main 
players. However, the old school 
storyline hinders a somewhat 
clever and often unusual atypical crime drama. Tom Hardy 
stars as Bob, a peculiar, soft-spoken bartender who tends bar 
at his cousin Marv’s joint. 

 The late James Gandolfini plays Marv, a former kind of 
wiseguy dealing with the fact he doesn’t really own the bar 
any longer since the mob has moved in on his territory. The 
Brooklyn set crime drama focuses on Marv’s bar where 
money drops are made for a Chechnya mob. Things go awry 
after closing hours when two lowlife criminals rob the bar 
and make way with the money that belongs to the Chechens. 
When heat is increasingly put upon Marv and Bob by the 
mob, things begin to unravel for the two men. “The Drop” 
offers many of the same film tropes found in crime dramas, 
but side stories from supporting characters give it a fresh 
approach even if these stories sometimes become a bit 
muddle along the way.

 The film is somewhat of a character study on Hardy’s 
character. Bob is mild mannered, soft-spoken and even has 
a caring heart for the lonely, elderly and abused animals. 
However, there’s just something more about him. This 
realization you can’t really put your finger on for half the film 
until you recognize there’s a mystery percolating within. I 
found Hardy’s performance enthralling and tantalizing. His 
presentation easily outshines the restrained film. Supporting 
character Noomi Rapace plays the female role, in which the 
writer never knows how to fully develop her. Ultimately, 
she becomes a bargaining chip in the end for Hardy, but her 
presence wasn’t utilized very well. She’s the closest thing to a 
love interest, but if she ever becomes one remains unknown. 
Rapace has a great acting prowess. Sadly, she seems to be 
misused in US films time after time. 

 Relatively unknown stateside, Matthias Schoenaerts, who 
plays Deeds, a lowlife just recently out of the psych ward, is 
haunting and absolutely terrific. His character and when he’s 
squared up with Hardy are easily the most entertaining and 
engaging aspects of the film. “The Drop” was Gandolfini’s 
last feature role. He wasn’t the main character, but his acting 
chops were on full display. He played a lesser version of Tony 
Soprano. Nonetheless, he was solid with his larger-than-life 

 “The Drop” has the common twist ending, but while it’s 
being called unexpected by many critics, you just knew 
something was about to be revealed in the last act. When 
things unravel, it’s almost if Hardy’s character doesn’t even 
blink an eye. From him only being a single piece to the 
puzzle, he becomes the entire puzzle. I thought “The Drop” 
also had an interesting, if somewhat ambiguous final shot. It 
definitely made it seem like a different kind of crime drama 
and because of that I do give it much respect. “The Drop” 
delivers on mood and atmosphere, superior class-A acting, 
and interesting subplots. However, the old school storyline 
has a few problems and feels unmistakably outdated, like a 
90s film. First time screenwriter Dennis Lehane (“Shutter 
Island,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Mystic River”) adapted “The 
Drop” from his own short story “Animal Rescue.” There’s 
definitely much intrigue here, but there’s a lot of telling 
rather than showing. Maybe “The Drop” comes off too 
much like a novel and not enough like a motion picture. 
It’s still worth checking out for Hardy and company, but it 
doesn’t come close to the works of Lehane’s other adapted 

 Grade: 3.5 out of 5

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra Madre Playhouse

Emerging Artists in Concert at the Playhouse

By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

 On October 5, 2014 we start our second season of 
collaborations with the Colburn Conservatory when the 
Alma Quartet plays a program of Haydn and Beethoven. 
All our Sunday evening performances begin at 7:00 p.m. 
Ticket prices vary, but the Colburn Concerts are $20 for 
adults and $15 for Seniors and Students. Reservations 
can be made at 626.355.4318. For a long time, I have 
been struck by the number of music conservatories 
producing world-class professional musicians in Los 
Angeles. We have The Colburn School, The Thornton 
School at USC, the Herb Alpert School at UCLA, 
and CalArts – each producing amazingly talented 
musicians. In 2013, I started working on establishing 
a Series at the Playhouse which I am calling Emerging 
Artists in Concert at the Playhouse and my first call was 
to the Colburn Conservatory. 

 Founded in 2003, the Colburn Conservatory has 
quickly established itself as one of the nation’s leading 
conservatories. I got a wonderful reception from Nate 
Zeisler, Director of Community Engagement and 
Continuing Education at the School who saw potential 
in working with SMP to create a venue for young artists 
to gain experience creating programs meaningful 
to themselves while working in collaboration with a 
producing organization. I have enjoyed working with 
Nate and his colleague Susannah Ramshaw to work 
out the execution of the collaboration – they have been 
terrific partners. 

 The Series has been a resounding success. We’ve had 
some of the most remarkable early-career musicians 
play on our stage. All of them have been taken with 
the quality of the sound in our theater – they’ve told me 
how easy the room is. Anyone who has heard music 
performances in our jewel box of a theater knows how 
remarkable a space it is for music.

The Sunday Series is an important part of our 
programming and has been for a long time and I have 
made it a key part of my new mission at SMP. I have 
some remarkable performers joining us this year. 
Please see our website 
for a full schedule of performances.

 This Emerging Artists Series intends to present 
and celebrate the emerging talent coming out of these 
conservatories as well as programming new approaches 
to accepted notions of classical music. Eventually, we 
hope to program a wide range of music from jazz to 
opera – and I am negotiating with a dance troupe to 
join the series – more on that as it develops. We hope 
that patrons will begin to think of the Sierra Madre 
Playhouse not only as a place to see great theater and 
but also as a place to hear wonderful music.

 I hope this is the start of something big. As I’ve 
been saying for a while to anyone who will listen: 
“Hear them at the Playhouse before you hear them at 
the Phil.”