The oddity of this flick is, I felt the performances were mostly excellent. I thought there was something interesting to the story. And the cinematography was truly great. But something got lost in the dialogue. Particularly when characters would, for no good reason, focus on one subject (a dog or a mini statuette of an angel) incessantly. It felt as if every character at one point or another commented on the same mundane thing... just so we, the audience would know it was sort of important to the plot.
Let me take a step back here. This was James Gandolfini's last movie. And he did a fine job in it. I'm not about to make light of that in any way. He really did bring his A game. But I cannot call a sort of mediocre move great just because of this context. The internal flaws of a bad script will always irk me. Tom Hardy was great. Noomi Rapace was serviceable. But that didn't really matter until the climax hit. Then the writing took an upswing for literally the most important scene of the movie before dropping back down to bleh to bring us into credits. Matthias Schoenaerts did a swell job too. But his part was so obvious. And then John Ortiz kind of made me wanna stop watching because he just couldn't maintain the same quality of performance as everyone else. It felt like the worst elements of the script would frequently erupt from his mouth.
Maybe I'm being a little too intense on this thing. But Dennis Lehane has never exactly done anything to give me confidence. And this being his first real screenplay... I guess he just lost his way in the dialogue department. I'm just saying, this script could've used a really good polish.
But at the end of the day, there was enough good in this movie to make it a worthwhile watch. If you ever enjoyed a Gandolfini performance, you'll probably get a kick out of his limited screen time. And Tom Hardy is always worth a watch. Just don't go in expecting the best picture of the year.