Eric Deeds doesn’t do whys.
Eric has a problem with Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy).
Bob is a bartender at his cousin Marv’s (James Gandolfini in his last film) bar, conveniently called Cousin Marvs. He lives in the house he inherited from his parents and generally keeps himself to himself. Doesn’t say much, just gets on with things.
Until the night he finds a beaten and bleeding pup in a trash can.
That night changes Bob’s life.
The trash can was in a front yard Bob was passing on his way back from a shift at the bar. It turns out the house is owned by a young woman called Nadia (Noomi Rapace). It takes Bob a while to find out her name. It takes him longer to convince her not to call the police and have him arrested.
Bob’s previously simple life rapidly becomes complicated on a number of fronts.
He promises Nadia to keep the pup, rather than giving it up to a dog shelter. Bob though doesn’t know anything about looking after a dog, so Nadia agrees to help.
And then up pops Eric Deeds (Mathias Schoenaerts). He turns up in the park as Bob and Nadia walk the dog. Then he knocks on Bob’s door and invites himself in. Compliments Bob on his dog. Or actually, his, Eric’s, dog he claims. Eric eventually leaves but it’s clear the number of bats in his belfry don’t add up to what they should.
Bob tells Marv what happened and enquires about Eric Deeds – who he is and what he’s like. Marv warns him that Deeds is seriously bad news, erratic unpredictable and given to violence. People in the neighbourhood believe he killed a man called Richie Whelan.
While Bob is mulling over these developments, more trouble drops into his world. Marv’s bar is robbed at closing time by two gun-wielding bandits who make off with $5000. Despite the name, Marv doesn’t own his bar. He used to. Back when he was a big name in the neighbourhood, a loan shark as well as bar owner, and want-to-be hoodlum and hardman.
Now though he’s been forced to hand the bar over to Chechen gangsters, and these days Marv answers to them. A loss of any kind is a black mark and the brutality that may be meted out in punishment unknowable.
Unless Marv and Bob can find the robbers and recover the money. And convince the Chechens that they had nothing to do with it. As well as the police detective (John Ortiz) who believes they know more than they’re telling.
And all the time not forgetting that Eric Deeds still has a bone to pick with Bob. And Nadia. And possibly Marv.
The resolution of these strands is like watching speeding trains all bound for the one terminus, hurtling ever closer – something explosive almost certainly will happen, but even as the tensions build we’re not quite sure how.
Then again there may be switches to be thrown and twists to come that change the entire story as we (believe we) know it……..
Hugely enjoyable in a quiet, understated way and played out on a very human scale, with sympathy for and insight into the often unsuspected depths of lingering fears and frustrations, hopes and dreams we all accumulate as we move through life.