The Drop (2014)
You had me at "Tom Hardy and a puppy."
The Drop stars Tom Hardy as Bob Saginowski, a bartender at a corner bar that also serves as a drop location for mob money. James Gandolfini plays Marv (who runs the bar) and Noomi Rapace is here as Bob's main squeeze.
The story isn't a complicated one, but the characters stay busy and have clear motivation. To be honest, there isn't much to the story at all, but this movie will keep your interest because of one thing - Tom Hardy.
Tom Hardy is an on screen chameleon. He's fantastic here as Bob, a vulnerable 'down-and-almost-outer' just trying to scrape by. Things change for the creepy when he finds a baby pitbull in a trash can one night on his way home from work. It's hard to believe this guy was Charlie Bronson in the fantastic Bronson (2008). Heck, while Bob stands toe to toe with a local trouble maker at one point during the film, I couldn't help but think "this guy broke Batman's back as Bane...surely he can beat the hell out of this schmuck!". It was fun watching Hardy here with his thick Brooklyn accent - he clearly stole the show.
James Gandolfini holds his own as an old, washed up gangster in his final role - the same magnetism he always had on screen - but I think that the other main key to this flick is the terrifying Eric Deeds, played by Matthias Schoenaerts. While watching, it's hard to not think about what you would do if confronted by the reality of a guy like Deeds stalking your every move. His performance is simply chilling. Noomi Rapace is adequate as Nadia. I found her role in the movie to be pretty organic and unforced, but I do think she is the weakest thing about the story.