Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini, Enough Said, 2013), runs a neighbourhood bar, which he used to own until about 10 years previous, when the Chechen mob took it from him. He is aided in running the bar with his cousin Bob ( Tom Hardy, Locke, 2014) who is calm quiet individual, who might be taken for being slow of the mark, but may not be a quiet as he seems. The bar is a mob “drop” bar where once selected for a given night, is the drop point for mob bookies through the city. One particular night, with no special drops, the bar is raided and about $5K stolen. As a result of a head injury to one of the staff, an ambulance is called and so the police. Bob let’s slip that one of the robbers had a broken watch, this turns out to be a vital clue. The detective, Torres (John Ortiz, Fast and Furious, 2006) who is assigned the case turns out to be a regular mass goer in the same church as Bob. Being a detective, he has noticed Bob never takes Communion, he asks Bob about this, but gets no answer, is there something deep and dark in Bob’s past?
As he is dealing with the fall-out from the robbery, he comes across an abandoned and injured puppy in a woman’s rubbish bin, through rescuing the puppy, he gets to know the woman in question, with a delicate fledgling relationship begins. Before it can develop, things take a negative turn. It turns out the puppy was owned by a local thug, Eric Deeds, (Blood Ties, 2013) who also happens to be the ex-boyfriend of the woman in question, Nadia (Noomi Rapace, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2009). Deeds has been recently released from prison/psychiatric hospital and is widely believed to have cold-bloodily killed a former gang leader and general all-round nasty thug some years ago, this belief has given Deeds a reputation he is happy to live up to.
It soon becomes clear that there was something more behind the robbery, Bob tries to steer a straight line, surviving by keeping his head down, minding his own business and doing nothing to annoy the Chechens.
At first glance we see parallels to the character Hardy played in Lawless (2012) in both cases we see a man getting on with life, quiet and thoughtful, a thinker. Hardy is to be acknowledged as playing two similar roles but managing to give completely different characters; Forrest was confident and sure is what he was doing, he did not speak because he did not need to. Bob on the other hand comes across as a man not so sure of himself, even taking on the “Responsibility” of the puppy is a matter of concern for him.
AS the plot develops and pressure starts to mount, we learn there is to be an added complication; the bar is to be the drop bar for the mob on Super-bowl night, the biggest money night of the year. Will it be robbed again? One of the original thieves was found and executed with the money returned. However our friend Deeds is involved somehow. As the situation develops, Bob takes precautions to first and foremost protect himself. The night of the big match arrives, and things get complicated, caught up between Deeds, Nadia who is forced there by the more and more deranged Deeds needs to be protected and against all of this is the underlying threat to his dog, which he is not taking lightly. The night unfolds with nothing going to plan. Secrets are revealed, and justice meted out, but to whom.
Hardy is the star of the show, once again transforming himself to the role, Gandolfini plays to his type (excellently, as was his way).
It is a firm 3 star show, nothing overly wrong with it, a lot right with it, but just missing that little extra to make it stand out. Also the role of Detective Torres role comes across as under played. Yes the detective put “two and two “ together to realise the secret of an old mystery and yes he develops a relationship with Hardy but it seems almost like an add-on, maybe suffering a little in editing. There is a certain something missing for some of the film, but noting serious.
Atmospheric and well set, it will keep you entertained. Written by David Lehane (Mystic River, 2003) we can see how Lehane again is able to use the edginess of the situation to move along the story and give a sense of menace to the background which does not need to be overly stated.