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I'm a massive fan of escape movies and a massive fan of bank job and getaway movies. I'm also a massive Edward Norton fan and I used to collect De Niro videos back in the late eighties and early nineties. So there are no prizes for guessing that I loved this movie and the actors in it.
I like a movie that has plenty of twists and turns and gets you thinking without trying to be overly clever. I think if a movie allows a viewer to think he has worked it out then they have usually done something right, but it is also nice to have some pleasant surprises.
The movie also starred Angela Bassett and will go down in the movie history annals as being Marlon Brando's last ever appearance in a movie. I'll talk more about that later on in the review.
The Score was directed by Frank Oz who you will all know from his appearances as Fozzy Bear in the Muppets. Well, I say appearance but of course we never saw him. He also created Fozzy Bear along with Miss Piggy. He has also directed many movies including 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'The Stepford Wives' and acted in over twenty.
Robert De Niro plays Nick wells a professional safe cracker who decides to call it a day and go straight after almost getting caught on the job. Angela Bassett plays his long suffering partner and she is delighted when he decides to stop. They both have dreams for the Jazz club he owns and now they'll have a chance to put those dreams into motion. Marlon Brando, who plays Max, offers De Niro one last job and it is such a big job with such a massive pay-off that he can't turn it down. Max introduces Nick to Jack Teller, played by Ed Norton. The job Max has in mind involves stealing a solid gold sceptre from a customs house. Jack has first-hand knowledge of the building and its plans after working for months as a disabled janitor named Brian and working himself into the guard's confidence. The plan is for Nick to go underneath the building via the sewers while Jack in his guise as Brian works on the cameras and alarms. Things don't go exactly as they planned.
Ed Norton is brilliant in this movie and again gives his Jekyll and Hyde performance in a way that only he can manage. When he is acting as Brian, you really feel that he is mentally challenged and he really pulls it off. When he is Jack he has that brash, foolhardy cockiness that he plays so well in many movies and many different roles. He is such a versatile actor and this movie was a joy for me as it brought me full circle from the man I used to collect, De Niro who is possibly one of the greatest method actors of the past fifty years to the man I collect now in Norton, who is destined to go down as one of the greatest and is already one of the best of his generation.
De Niro made this film on the back-end of his eighties and nineties heyday and before he started taking on lighter roles like 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' and 'Meet the Parents'. He still has that grit and that uncanny way of saying without speaking. That was the reason the slow motion shot in 'Goodfellas' worked so well, because De Niro has that knack of acting without acting at times and the camera picks it up. Some of the scenes with Norton are brilliant and his scenes with Bassett are well played out and full of tension.
Angela Bassett for her part does a good job and fits in with the movie well as De Niro's partner. The surprise element for me was Brando as I have never really been a fan but he played the part well although he wasn't in it for that long. It is quite fitting that his last movie was acted amongst such great actors.
Overall I really enjoyed the movie and there is a lot of action and edge of your seat stuff in the form of will they get caught or won't they.
Oz's direction is crisp and no nonsense and the cinematography is top notch. The score, that's the soundtrack not the movie itself, fits the whole thing rather nicely. I watched this back not long ago and it all does rather fit together well and is a compact effort from start to finish.
It may not appeal to everyone but if it is a good old bank job getaway type movie you after then you won't be disappointed and I say that even though I am biased due to the actors in it.
The standard DVD contains a trailer and cast biographies and the special edition contains interviews and commentary.
A good old fashioned run of the mill movie that is good to watch on a Sunday afternoon.
The Score is a fairly average crime thriller that left me feeling slightly disappointed mainly because I expected more given that the film starred Edward Norton and Robert De Niro two actors I have a lot of time for.
One of the limitations with this film is that to all intents and purposes it is not at all original, the only thing I found to be different was the fact that it was based in Montreal and I could not remember ever seeing a crime thriller based in this city but I'm sure it is not the only one not counting the fact that many films are shot in Canada and portrayed as American cities.
The lack of originality is shown by the basic plot which has an ageing villain Nick Wells, played by De Niro who has found love and is ready to turn away from a life of crime reluctantly agreeing to do one last job and then you just know that he is probably going to get double crossed just when you start to like the character even though you know you should not as essentially he is a criminal. The job is to steal a priceless royal treasure that is locked in a vault in the Montreal Customs House, he does not want to do a job on his home turf but is talked into it as his long time friend Max tells him that they have a man on the inside called Jack Teller who is played by Edward Norton and straight away the two do not get along. It is a good performance from Norton as he switches between the criminal hustler and his cover as a mentally challenged cleaner called Brian at the Customs House. The other main character Max is played by Marlon Brando.
There is a certain style to the film and the robbery scenes are pretty cool and well constructed it is just the predictability of the plot that is disappointing for me. Norton delivers the finest performance by a long measure, De Niro just seems to be plodding along without a great deal of passion.
Not the greatest crime thriller I have ever seen but it is worth a viewing I'm just not sure that it is worth parting with any money to watch it though.
For such a promising film with a great cast including Robert De Niro and Edward Norton, this was a complete and utter let-down.
The story revolves around an ageing thief (De Niro's character) who hopes to retire and live off his ill-gotten gains. That is until he is convinced to take part in one last heist with the help of a rookie thief (Norton).
I thought that there were way too many exposition scenes in this film and far too little action. I wasn't expecting shoot-outs and car chases but given that this is supposed to be a heist film I thought there would be a little more excitement than there was. The last 30 minutes or so were good but the twist at the end could be seen coming a mile off and the abrupt ending completely spoilt the limited amount of tension that had been built up.
Edward Norton did give a good performance but his character and the others felt underdeveloped so it was hard to care about what happened to them.
This film is a bit of a damp squib really. I left it feeling let down; with a decent script this could have been great but instead it felt pointless and the story accomplished nothing.
The Score is one of those movies that I recommend to everyone to go see, though most of the people I've spoken to have never even heard of it. It's a shame because it boasts three of the greatest actors from three separate generations- De Niro, Norton, and Brando- and is one of the most intriguing heist dramas that I've seen in years.
Although the story is a familiar one, the film still manages to be smart, tense, and clever; it's an old fashioned thriller that got lost somewhere between the audience's lust for contemporary special effects, and movies starring clean-cut-new-age-action heroes, like Matt Damon. De Niro plays Nick, a veteran safecracker, who is about to retire and settle down with his woman (Angela Bassett) when his partner Max (Brando) attempts to sway him with one last score. Norton plays the hotshot youngster, Jack, who has the inside knowledge and trust of his employees, and eventually convinces Nick that they can do the job if they work as a team.
De Niro's performance is typical of the man who is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time: shrewd and methodical; and a huge inspiration for his younger partner in crime. Norton, seemingly without hesitation, takes advantage of the opportunity and, arguably, steals the show; he plays two distintive roles: one being the cocky young thief, and the other as Brian, a janitor with learning difficulties, which very much reminded me of his debut performance in Primal Fear.
Meanwhile, Brando (in his last ever role) is a spectacle that everyone wants to see, and pops up every now and then, teasing the audience, with his improvised wise cracks, which add a hint of innovation to his every scene. He'll be sadly missed.
Frank Oz, the guy behind Miss Piggy in The Muppets, probably wouldn't have been everyone's first choice to direct the interplay between the three actors at its forefront. Wisely though, he keeps the whole affair low key, giving the stars the chance to showcase the talents they have become famous for.
Overall, The Score is a competent, yet unpretentious, film, with enough excitement (just watch the "Safe cracking" at the end) to prove there's still plenty of life in the old genre yet.
Stories about great robberies can really go one of three ways:
1. Robbery goes off as planned everybody lives happily ever after.
2. Robbery goes terribly wrong nobody gets out alive.
3. Robbery goes partially wrong everybody double-crosses everyone else.
Scenario three is easily the most common one seen in films, and The Score is a relatively unoriginal example.
Nick Wells is an ageing thief and a master in his field, who is deeply in love with the beautiful Diane. From his home in Montreal, Wells continues to execute brilliant robberies but is reaching the age when he wants to retire and take it all easy. His best friend and Fence, Max, one day brings up the matter of a priceless royal jewel, which is currently locked away in the Montreal customs house. Wells is reluctant to take on the job, having great reservations about the actual job in hand, as well as a firm belief in not working in his hometown. When Max advises him that he has a man on the inside, Wells is even more reluctant as he immediately takes a dislike to the brash young man that Max puts him in touch with. After some deliberation, Wells finally agrees to take on the job, on the strict understanding that it is done exactly according to his rules. Everything appears to be going swimmingly, but Wells underestimates the motives of his partners in crime and soon finds himself questioning exactly who he can trust.
If this film sounds like a dozen other movies that you might have seen, its probably because it is like a dozen other movies that you might have seen. It isnt really a question of if Wells is going to be double-crossed, but more simply a question of when, and despite the best attempts of some of the cast members, there is nothing here to make this film stand out from the crowd.
The trouble is, I am always very dubious of films about that one last job, because every moviegoer knows that things are never quite as easy as that. Whilst I fully appreciate that the movie relies entirely upon it, I always find myself disliking characters who are so easily led into carrying out a job against their wishes. Sometimes, it would be infinitely more appealing if the character said no, meant it and that was that. OK, so the film would end but what the heck? At least it would be original. In The Score, despite his best protestations, you just know that Nick Wells will accept the job and you just know that there will be more to it than meets the eye.
The cast falls very neatly into a 50/50 balance between very appealing and completely unappealing. Nick Wells is quite likeable (despite his weak will) as the aged robber and Robert De Niro plays him very competently. I liked the portrayal of his dual life, with his atmospheric café lifestyle by day and his dark and mysterious criminal life at night. The star of the show is most definitely Edward Norton who really demonstrates why he is such a popular actor. Nortons cover in the Customs House is that of a cleaner with severe learning difficulties (Brian) and his ability to switch from this to the streetwise criminal Jack Teller is superb. Norton manages to make his alter ego funny and likeable without ever straying into caricature and for me, Brian was probably the star of the show. Jack Teller is also far more dominant, despatching one of Wells thugs with relative ease, and proving that there is a lot more to him than just talk. The more I see Norton, the more I like him, and The Score just provides more bonus points as far as I am concerned.
Sadly, there is nothing very positive to say about the other cast members. Marlon Brando is unbelievably repulsive as Max and it defies belief to understand how the man could ever have been a sex symbol. His overt femininity is entirely unintentional, and as he minces around in his dressing gown he looks like nothing more than a fat, aged drag queen. Angela Bassett might just as well not appear in the movie, as she is only given one or two, almost irrelevant scenes in the film and I couldnt really see the point of using here. As the love interest for Wells, she has a role to play, but hardly a very significant one.
As I was flipping through an old copy of Empire magazine, I noticed that the film was directed by Frank Oz, whose previous directions include Bowfinger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Little Shop of Horrors. The Score is an entirely different project, but despite its tired plot, it is quite well put together. The locations were filmed in Montreal and put the citys scenery to good use. The film captures the charm and atmosphere of the city and makes for far more interesting viewing than a film set in yet another US city. The robbery sequences are very interesting, with plenty of gadgets and tricks to get the job done. There is a genuine tension in these scenes and for a while there, I must admit that I was on the edge of my seat. Of course, the more remarkable thing about Frank Oz is that he is also the voice for some of your favourite movie puppets, including Yoda and Miss Piggy. With this fact in mind, it can be quite difficult to take him seriously as a film director.
Id be a liar if I said that I was able to predict the outcome of this film, but when it twisted its tale for the last time, I wasnt shocked it still seemed a little bit cliched. That really is the problem with this film. The combination of De Niro and Norton could have been truly explosive, but in the end, it all turns into a bit of a damp squib. The Score isnt a bad film, but it is a wasted opportunity and for that it should definitely be criticised. I wouldnt buy this and I probably wouldnt suggest that you hire it either. A television viewing will probably suffice but only when you havent got much else to do.
You can pick up a copy online for about £5.
The score is a well-made but fairly typical Hollywood heist movie. It relies on a complex plot and the interaction of the characters to maintain your interest in the story rather than overblown action set pieces. What makes the film more than just average is the presence of three excellent actors that between them represent three generations of film acting. Marlon Brando arguably the best actor of his generation in the 50s and 60s, Robert De Niro who in many ways can be said to have taken the mantle over from Brando in the 70s and 80s and Edward Norton who for many is seen as a possible successor in the 90s and beyond.
Nick Wells is a master thief and a very successful one. Over the years he carefully built himself up a comfortable life, from crime. He owns a nightclub in Montreal, some money in the bank and a beautiful girlfriend. The reasons for his success over the years is his care in planning the thefts, his reluctance to take any unnecessary risks and his golden rule of never carrying out a job in his backyard, Montreal.
Now that he is the very top of his profession he senses this might be the time to quit but one more temptation comes his way via his friend and long time associate Max. Jack Teller a young thief has contacted Max, Jack has discovered that a priceless sceptre, part of the French crown jewels, is being stored in a Museum warehouse in Montreal. The Museum is unaware of the value of the item and thus security is relatively low. Jack has managed to infiltrate the staff and has been staking out the building for weeks in order to find a way in and steal the sceptre. For his plan to work he needs the services of a top thief. Max brings this proposal to Nick and despite the fact that it would break Nicks golden rule the £4 million dollar share on offer tempts Nick as he sees this as a perfect payoff to fund his retirement.
The planning for the robbery then begins
THE CAST, PERFORMANCES AND OPINION
Robert De Niro .... Nick Wells
Edward Norton .... Jack Teller
Marlon Brando .... Max
Angela Bassett .... Diane
Directed by Frank Oz
Before I go on to mention the other aspects of the film the most obvious attraction must be the cast. Marlon Brando was truly one of the greats of modern cinema. This is the last proper film he made before his death in 2004 and although we see him as a very overweight, shambling figure, a shadow of his former powerful self there is still a dangerous shine in his eyes and an aspect to his voice that reminds you what a great screen presence he is/was. His performance as Max the high-class fence in this film is rather limited but most of his scenes are opposite De Nero and it is a pleasure to watch both of them interact.
De Niro seems to coast through the film and in his role. Some have criticised him in his recent performances accusing him of merely acting by numbers or simply for the cheque at the end of the project, what people tend to forget is that it is because he is such as accomplished actor that he manages to make his roles so believable and that the performances seem effortless. The character of nick in this film is quite complex. He is an expert thief still at the top confident in his abilities but realising that the spark is going out and that he needs to quit before he throws away all that he has gained over the years. De Niro manages to illustrate Nicks self doubts and fears bring a little subtle melancholy to the part. For a simple heist movie his character is explored in some depth as he faces the moral dilemma of choosing to help a friend in need or to think of himself and his relationship with Diane his long-time but non-committed girlfriend.
The most interesting performance is given by Ed Norton, in this illustrious company he is very much the new kid on the block. Jack is a young man who is in awe of the more experienced Nick but at the same time in competition with him. Norton gets to show off his character acting skills in the movie when his character jack has to adopt a disguise as Brian a man with learning difficulties in order to infiltrate the security of the building they have to break into, I found this aspect of his role a little unconvincing and felt that Norton was trying a little too hard perhaps conscious that with such co-star he had a lot to prove. In many ways there is parallel between the characters of Nick and Jack in the film and the real life Norton and De Nero, for me at least De Niro comes out on top.
The film is set in Toronto and this was a revelation for me at first when I heard people speaking French and seeing the backdrop of Baroque churches, elegant building and narrow alleyways I thought the location was Paris. The film certainly displays Montreal is a very favourable light. The special effect and stunts are professionally done without being eye-catching.
As I mentioned before the film is a well-made but not outstanding thriller. As with any decent heist movie the plot is good enough to keep you on the edge of your seat as the robbery takes place and as is always the case in this genre the best-laid plans are always undone by unforeseen events. The execution of the crime is very interesting in itself and has obviously been carefully thought out by the writer producing an rather innovative way of breaking in to a safe.
Frank Oz (with a little uncredited help from De Niro) directs the movie with some style and shows once again his versatility having previously directed such varying projects as The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) and most recently The Stepford Wives (2004). He manages the traditional element of the thriller well enough and manages to add more depth of character to the main roles than is usual for this kind of film.
Overall The Score is a stylish and engaging movie if not innovative, after all we have seen the one last job scenario in films before! We do have the added bonus of seeing some top class acting talent sparring with each other in between the action sequences. I wont be remembered as one of the best film in any of the actors CVs but it is still worth watching.
Should you wish to own a copy The Score is available form Play.com at £6.99 delivered or from Amazon.co.uk for £6.97 (+p&p).
Thanks for reading and rating this review.
© Mauri 2005
Brando, De`niro, Norton, a kind of whos who, then now and tomorrow of Stella acting talent finally hook up on the big screen. Although Marlon could have e-mailed his effort as the fence to Jack Keller,(Deniro). No one acts anyone off screen here in this run of the mill crime caper thriller. Bobby really hasn?t had a good film for along time and you were hoping that it was the script, and not the paypacket that bought these guys together. Its strangely set in Montreal Canada, probably for budgetary reasons to pay the stars fees over actual content and plot. Deniro plays the cliched aging cat burglar doing one last big job so he can settle down with his girl and bar. Angela Bassett is another reason why Deniro took this film to satisfy his lust for dusky babe actresses. Naomi Campbell and his two wives so far will testify to that little temptation. But the love interest in Bassett is pointless and peripheral to the film and flow, like I say, an excuse to do the one last job movie. Connery in Entrapment testifies its not always a good idea!. Ed Norton plays the streetwise young con who has a plan to knock over Montreals customs bonded warehouse where a priceless royal scepter has found its way there accidentally. Hes the inside man under the guise of a retarded janitor working there and he wants De`niros safe cracking skills to get it out. Brando mumbles on aimlessly on the importance of the job being done for the young upstart as the three plan the very complex heist. If it comes of, everyone is a winner and can retire or move on happily. It then comes down to a matter of trust and egos between the three as they all have separate agendas. Jack is his own man and does everything his way, whilst the young buck Norton doesn?t trust him and his end game for the pay off to. But with the jewel ready to be moved, the duo on the ground have to execute plan A now or its gone for good. The twist is predictable, as is the t
ension. Nortons reasons to get involved with this average fair are surely big screen kudos with big shot actors he modeled himself on over movie content. The other two are far less comprehensible and are perhaps thinking of retirement in real life as well as in the film. Theres just enough here to entertain with the lightweight plot and action. All three do their job as you feel strangely privileged to be seeing them up there finally in parity.(The older two never actually met on screen in Godfather 2). I personally never rated Brando as major actor and find him mildly amusing. Did you know that he insisted on wearing know trousers in some of the clothed scenes so the director Frank Oz couldn?t get his full girth on certain scenes. He also ribbed the man behind the lens by calling him Miss Piggy after the voice role he played in The Muppet's!. Then he demanded that his friend De`niro and not OZ direct him in his scenes in the film. This guy is a major league as***e!.
This film really, really depressed me. I wasn't exactly desperate to see it, but I went along with a group of friends, figuring 'what the hell, i'll give it a chance'. I wish had stayed at home. For me, this film represented everything that is wrong with Hollywood today. This film is lazy, uninspired and completely pointless. Seriously, the utter lack of ambition on show here, and the total contempt for originality is almost astounding. Does Hollywood really think that audiences will continues to swallow the same old sh*t time and time again? A line must be drawn....we must say to the studios 'No ! We will not take this anymore ! Give us something new !' Films like this sound to me like the death bell ringing for the creative soul of the industry. Sigh. Ok, the plot, which will be hauntingly familiar, even to people who rarely watch films. De niro is a world weary safe cracker/burglar, who has been promising himself that his next job will be his last for as long as he can remember. This time, however, he is determined to quit and go straight. His last job, given to him by camp middleman Brando, involves working with wild card Norton, who may or may not be planning something more sinister. Thus, the scene is set for betrayal after tedious betrayal....trust, honour, no-one is who they seem, etc., etc., etc....roll credits. See what I mean ? The plot has been done before countless times. Did film maker Frank Oz really think that he could add something to this tired old dog of a genre? Did he really think that he could give it a shot in the arm, or maybe at least produce a definitive example ? If so, then he was sadly mistaken. His workmanlike direction and handling of the familiar air adds absolutely nothing. There is almost no effort to lift the feeling of deju-vu, and this slow moving film swiftly becomes an exercise in drudgery. There is very little action in this film, and most of the screen time i
s taken up with talking. At least other recent films like 'Swordfish' have tried to liven up the proceedings. 'The score' throws up two fingers at the audience by refusing to include anything even vaguely exciting. I do realise that most films these days are predictable, but still, there is no excuse for simply xeroxing off something like this. This is film making by the numbers, in the most cynical way. What makes it even worse is the cast. Consider the wealth of talent here: three of actors, each arguably the finest of their respective generations. So what do you do with them? Come on Hollywood, what would be a really great way to showcase their considerable skills ? I know ! Lets give them all two dimensional, stereotypical characters in an utterly standard plot ! Go ahead and shine, fellas ! Jesus. The script gives none of the three anything to work with. De niro mumbles and looks tired, brando camps it up and looks weird, and Norton just twitches and tries to look creepy. I really cannot think of anything good to say about this film. It is a complete waste of time, and the people who greenlighted it should be kneecapped. If there was any justice in the world, all prints of this would be seized, put on trial on charges of predictability, and sentenced to be burned at the stake.
In Frank Oz's intelligent heist movie, it's not the final score that counts but the way the game is played. Staying away from all-out action in favour of a slow, methodical build-up to the actual heist itself, Oz gives his all-star cast enough room to light up the screen - and they don't let him down. Nick Wells (Robert De Niro) is an experienced safecracker who's talked into the "dreaded one last job" by his fence (Marlon Brando). There's just one problem - the multimillion dollar score is under guard in Montreal's Customs House and Nick needs the help of a cocky young thief (Edward Norton) to breach the security systems. In comparison with recent heist movies such as Swordfish and Entrapment, The Score is a surprisingly serious and mature feature (particularly given the director's track record for so-so Steve Martin comedies like Bowfinger and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). The screenplay's strength lies in the realisation that the planning of the crime is often more interesting than the job itself and that sometimes the least energetic scenes are the most captivating. As De Niro cautiously maps out the building armed with a mini surveillance camera Oz piles on the tension without once resorting to wham-bam pyrotechnics. Combined with Howard Shore's wonderfully tense music, this is great filmmaking, subtle but effective. Of course, the undeniable success here is the acting. De Niro, Brando, Norton and Angela Bassett are a joy to watch and it's their contribution that makes The Score such a classy addition. Only slightly less so than De Niro's last big caper thriller Ronin, you could be forgiven for thinking The Score was made in the Seventies. Only the presence of Edward Norton and the liberal use of the F-word link it loosely to the present. It's also very obviously targeted at a lately adult "born in the Sixties" audience. It screams "sophisticated adults only", from the
big name cast and the cod-jazz soundtrack to the faux-european setting (Montreal doubles for what probably should have been Paris or London). To its credit, with the exception of The Crimson Rivers, it is the only big-budget film this year with a plot that keeps working all the way to the end of the third act, and where the French film's plot finally collapses into the improbable, this one stays true to its self-imposed "reality" and delivers an obvious but effective double-twist.
*Slight digression, kids, but having posted this, I've just read the first paragraph, and realised that the entire thing is just one sentence. I'm not sure if this is an achievement or a mistake, but I thought I would point it out for punctuation connoisseurs everywhere.* Professionalism is a useful term for damning with faint praise - certainly, a thriller which combines perhaps the greatest American screen actor from three distinct generations (Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Edward Norton) which does not blow you away has clearly done something badly wrong, but approached with realistic expectations and the clear warning that ‘The Score’ is simply a clear, concise and very watchable piece of entertainment, well worth the price of admission. De Niro is Nick, a professional thief who lives in Montreal and is tiring of his life of crime; Brando is Max, his fence and a source for big jobs; Norton is Jack, an ambitious rookie who Max brings to Nick to pull a major job at the Montreal Customs House. Inside the building is a priceless French antique - Max has a buyer, Jack is the inside man masquerading as a feeble-minded janitor, Nick is the expert safecracker. Jack is too cocky, Max has a hidden agenda, and Nick is worried about working in his home town, and with a partner he doesn’t trust. Yeah, this doesn’t sound like the most original of heist movies - ‘The Hot Rock’ is still the model for all thieving movies, a delicate, perfectly pitched thriller with a magnificent cast - and there are actually very few surprises. The performances are solid but unsurprising, the script is polished and convincing without pulling anything really special out of the bag, and the direction by Frank Oz is measured and well-paced, but lacking in real fire. This comes perilously close to being the cinematic equivalent of prostitution - you want your cinematic fix, so you go to a place where you can be serviced
by a professional, who knows exactly what to do but completes the entire act with a total lack of passion. Oz always makes watchable movies (‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’, ‘What About Bob’, ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’), the script has been worked on by Lem Dobbs, a superb screenwriter responsible for some of Steven Soderberg’s more interesting films, and of course, there’s that cast, who can do this kind of thing standing on their head. It isn’t boring - the heist is superbly handled, with some little twists and developments that work very well, while the preamble is superbly paced (there’s an excellent face-off between Norton and the people who are selling info about the security system) and the ending is good. It’s just that there’s no real enthusiasm at work here, absolutely no inspiration. None of the talent is disgracing themselves, but no-one is really attempting to set the screen ablaze. Certainly, polished movies like this are a godsend to the regular filmgoer - at least you’re in the hands of a practised pro for two hours (you can’t have ‘Moulin Rouge’ every week) but thinking back on it afterwards, you may hate yourself in the morning for spending money on such soulless diversions.
If main-role casting were the key to a blockbuster film, The Score would be sweeping the board at this year's Academy Awards ceremony. The finest actor of modern cinema (Robert De Niro) teams up with arguably the most promising male lead of his generation (Ed Norton) in this tale of a meticulously planned heist being put into action. Throw the once great Marlon Brando into the equation, and you've got a pretty impressive line-up. De Niro plays Nick Wells, an ageing safebreaker tempted into one last job (yawn) by the prospect of a huge payday. The prospective partner in crime is Jack Teller (Norton), who offers to get Wells detailed security and building plans for Montreal Customs House - which houses a priceless French sceptre - by continuing to pretend to be "Brian", a mentally handicapped janitor's assistant in that very building. The pair are persuaded to team up by mutual business acquaintance Max (Brando). True, the lead actors of the movie make impressive reading, but this is ultimately what contributes to its downfall. De Niro and Norton are obviously important to the film, but their presence only highlights the woefully underwritten supporting cast. Angela Bassett serves only to annoy as Diane, Wells' long suffering girlfriend, and even Brando seems uncomfortably out of place. The plot isn't terrible, exactly, but is nothing better than run-of-the-mill. It is only the presence of the two leads that lifts this above the dross - they are both undeniably watchable screen actors. Norton confirms his status as the most exciting and versatile actor on the scene, seemingly pulling off his dual role with ease - "Brian" in particular showing just how convincing this man can be. De Niro, although strong as ever, just seems to breeze throughout the entire movie without breaking sweat - not exactly a test for the man who WAS Travis Bickle. Director Frank Oz (who was born in Hereford) isn't e
xactly the most high profile of names. His previous credits include 'Little Shop Of Horrors' (1986), 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' (1998) and the woeful 'Bowfinger' (1999). Oz also lent his acting talents to the Star Wars series - he was the voice of Yoda. With The Score, he doesn't really leave his mark, if he has one. Whilst solid throughout, there are no particularly stunning shots or set-pieces, nothing to really leave the audience's jaws on the floor. To be fair to the film as a whole, if you take the expectation of a movie containing such stars away, it's not all that bad. Although a variation on the tired old "one last job" theme, the plot does just enough to hold the interest, and the final twist whilst mildly predictable is pulled off quite nicely. The very inclusion of Norton and De Niro make The Score worth one viewing, but you really can't help but think that their considerable talent could have been much better utilised with a weightier script.
I went to see this movie last night and was really looking forward to it as de Niro and Norton are two of my favourite actors. The basic plot of the story is that de Niro is an aging safe cracker who gets pursaded to go on one last hoist before he gives it all up for the love of a good woman (sound familiar!!) Although the acting from both de Niro and Green was excellent, in particular Norton who I thing outshines de Niro. Brando does little more than look hidously out of shape and puff a lot. The film was slow and uncaptivating with all the action in the last 10 minutes of the film. I won't give the ending away as I feel that everyone should judge a film for themselves and not just go on reviews but don't hold your breath!!
The score features the expected class performances from DeNiro and Norton and the equally expected ham form Brando. Set against the background of the titled ‘Score’ this film is about the relationship between Norton’s character a very competent but risk taking thief who is out for the big hit and a life of luxury. Compare this to DeNiro’s character (Nick) who never takes a risk, works away from home and makes life as safe as possible, treating this as a job to be done a little at a time. The score in this case is in Nick’s home town, is a high pay off but risky undertaking and requires a partner (Norton) who is the man on the inside. The centrepiece of the film is the tension around the two leads, which simpers throughout the film but doesn’t really boil over till right near the end. Unfortunately this is also resolved very swiftly, over a single phone call in fact, and the film then ends very abruptly leaving a feeling of ‘Oh, is that it’. Not that this is a bad film, I really quite enjoyed it, the acting was great (Brando aside), the direction was slick, the story line was acceptably good, especially if you ignore Nick’s love interest as these scenes were painfully predictably and did not really add a lot to the proceedings. The detail gone into with the score itself was enough to make you think the guys knew what they were doing without boring you with detail. It was just it left me rather disappointed at the end with the thought that it could have been so much more.
A glance at the poster for the score and you instantly have something sold to you without even knowing what the film is about. The names De Niro, Norton and Brando as well as Angela Bassett should be enough to at least peak your interest. Not only that but it's directed by Yoda/Fozzy Bear himself Frank Oz! Now these names along have already affected people's perceptions of the film. With a cast of great talent it seems that we should get one of the greatest films ever to grace the screen purely because of past acting performances. Well The Score isn't an amazing film but as entertainment it's certainly a cut above the rest. De Niro plays Nick, a seasoned professional thief whose speciality is cracking safes with precision and close detail. He has everything planned down to the last detail and as a result has never been caught. By day he is the owner of a respectable Jazz club and has a foxy air stewardess girlfriend Diane. A life of crime isn't really attractive anymore and Nick decides to give it up for a life with Diane and the Jazz Club. However his associate Max (Marlon Brando) offers him one last score worth a large amount of money. The target is a priceless antique sceptre but Nick must work with a young thief named Jack (Ed Norton) to pull off the job. What follows is a conflict of trust and respect as everything is planned down to the last detail with some twists along the way. Director Frank Oz's previous films have all been comedies so The Score represents a definite change of style and it's one that Oz seems to have no problems with. The film is very well shot and paced throughout. The look of the film has a very noir style and a certain amount of class. Of course when you have this kind of talent in the cast then really you could just point and shoot and still get something decent. On the acting front well you get what you'd expect. De Niro is good, this isn't Raging Bull or
Taxi Driver but what you get is an assured character with the right amount of maturity and a degree of menace. Ed Norton is equal to him and at time amusing. In order to get the inside info on the building containing the sceptre he poses as a mentally challenged janitor and has everyone in the building fooled. Brando is well Brando, he doesn't really need to work anymore, he's made his money but he does good work here and brings a certain amount of humour to the role. Of course if rumour has it he was certainly troublesome on set. Angela Basset doesn't have much to do but she's one of those actresses that doesn't get a lot of great roles but really should as she's a class act all the way. The film isn't action packed by Jerry Bruckheimer standards. The pacing unfolds slowly and you see the planning and verbal sparring however once the score get's underway there is some real tension as this elaborate plan unfolds even though you know something is bound to happen to make the plot twist. You know it's going to happen and it's no surprise when it does but you want to know who finally get's the upper hand. So to wrap up this is a well-made film that will entertain. There's nothing original but most films aren't and this recognises this but get's a decent cast and decent script. If you're someone who can't handle a film that doesn't have crash, bang action throughout then wait for video but I for one enjoyed it. One last thing on the pacing of the film and people who can't handle it. I watched this in a theatre where some members of the audience obviously couldn't handle the pacing and as a result where restless, whispered constantly and couldn't keep still. These people were adults and really should know better. As the saying goes if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen!