When a film studio releases key art with a quote that reads “From the author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone”, it may be prudent to also add – “From a short story by the author of….”
This is at least the second film in 2014 that features a script based on a short story, (also with a dog as a plot device) that frankly isn’t sufficient to base a whole feature film around – and yes – Spoiler Alert – I’m looking at you The Rover.
Tom Hardy is Bob, he’s a bartender in his Cousin Marv’s bar. The place gets robbed, no biggie, except it’s actually owned by Mobsters – from Chechnya, so, like Ron Burgundy, it’s kind of a big deal.
Bob finds a dog in a trashcan at the home of Nadia ( Noomi Rapace), and the two humans become extremely unlikely acquaintances.
Everything about this film seems like a film. Including an inconsequential detective who happens to go to the same church as Bob, and his character’s impact on proceedings doesn’t amount to much at all.
There’s one exception to the mediocrity – James Gandolfini as Cousin Marv, a Brooklyn stalwart who “flinched” and lost his bar to said mobsters several years ago.
The film is dedicated “In Loving Memory” to Gandolfini, and there’s a certain poignancy in watching the sadly departed actor stalk the screen, however it’s not enough to lift this film into any kind of special territory. It’s telling that you can hear his breathing in every scene he’s in. Smoking, out of shape, a heart attack candidate if ever there was one.
While Hardy and Rapace are enjoyable enough to watch in just about anything they act in, their characters in this effort seem really dumbed down.
Maybe I’m just not cut out for films like this – I hated The Equalizer. Then again, this cheerful Liam Neeson crime caper was pretty good.
Sorry Tony – 2 & 1/2 stars.