First Hit: I liked the developing twist of who really was in-charge of the neighborhood scene.
It isn’t easy to play the guy who appears to be a little slow of mind on the outside while really taking stock of everything and making sure it all works out for the best.
Tom Hardy plays Bob the bartender to his uncle’s bar. Although Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) manages the bar he once owned, he sold it to some Chechnya tough guys who use the bar as a money drop for illicit activities.
Bob is quite, responds to situations in a measured way and isn’t rattled by threats. He happens upon a beaten and cut dog in a trash can and decides to rescue it. The trash can resides on Nadia’s (Noomi Rapace) property. Slowly they become friends around caring for the dog.
As Marv believes he can scam the new owners for one last large big score, he knows Bob will attempt to keep things on par and do what he has to do to keep clarity with a sense of purpose. Brooklyn, thugs, and a closed tight neighborhood are also stars of this film.
Some of the shots of the neighborhood and the interaction and closeness of bar patrons in “their bar” are sublime.
Hardy is brilliant. It isn’t easy to play the type of character this film calls for, while not giving away the actor's intelligence. Hardy does it in spades and makes this one of the very best performances I’ve ever seen him give. Gandolfini was difficult to watch. The way he smoked his cigarettes belied a man who was sucking smoke to ease the hassle of living not only as a man but as the character. Life and art being one here. Although he did a good job with this character, I couldn’t help but watch him slowly dig his own grave through his unhappiness. Rapace was sublime. Her vulnerability, strength and action based on fear were perfect for the role. Dennis Lehane wrote a very strong screenplay. The direction by Michael R. Roskam for this story was very good and I liked how the brooding mood was consistently felt throughout the film.
Overall: It was well acted and strong film.