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The Score (2001)

  Directed by: Frank Oz
Starring: Angela Bassett, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Edward Norton
Links: The Score on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 7.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 104th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

The Score (2001) is also mentioned in mino's review of On the Waterfront (1954).

"Heisty." - a review by mino

The ‘heist’ movie is a funny old genre. Every couple of years, some Hollywood studio feels the need to crank out another one, either as a vehicle for an up-and-coming star (Entrapment (1999)), as a vehicle for an old ‘legend’ (erm… Entrapment again), as an easy-pickings all-star big-budget extravaganza (Ocean's Eleven (2001)), or just to include some new whizz-bang technology for the perpetrators to avoid/defeat/break/use to their advantage/whatever.

The Score is kind of a combination of these things. Made right as Edward Norton was hitting mainstream, in a way, it's obviously there to show him off a little: playing Jack, a criminal posing undercover as a retarded janitor to get information about the target, Norton is given plenty of opportunities to show off his talent — and, it has to be said, does a very good job.

Norton teams up with the legendary Robert De Niro, who plays jazz-club-owning master criminal Nick, cool and calm, as opposed to Norton's fiery young buck. De Niro, as always, gives a fine performance, though at time it seems that he's just going through the motions a little.

Sadly, also going through the motions is Marlon Brando, though that may not be because he didn't care about the movie, rather because he's incapable of doing anything else these days. At times, you get flashes of old-style Brando brilliance; unfortunately, most of the time you're just left staring sadly at this sad old man who used to be such a powerful actor.

As far as the heist itself, The Score is a bit of a paint-by-the-numbers affair, though it does at least give some thought to plot (which many of these films don't), and as such is rather more satisfying than many others of the ilk, with a few tricky twists and turns in there.

One very odd thing about The Score is the character of Diane, Nick's wife, who is played by Angela Bassett. Given how much time is devoted to building the main characters, providing their motivations and giving a feel for their personalities, Diane is one of the most awfully one-dimensional characters I remember seeing in a film. She's a totally unconvincing caricature, and Bassett is lumbered with some truly horrible lines. She does her best, but her character just jars; it's almost like the job of writing Diane's dialogue was given to the work experience kid while the real writers were having lunch or something. It's a small thing, given it's a small part, but it really is quite annoying.

The Score is entertaining enough, like so many heist movies, particularly with its rather impressive cast. There isn't really that much to sink your teeth into, but who cares? It's good fun.

mino gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 2 Feb 2004

"Norton holds his own" - a review by pearly

Nick (Robert De Niro) is an aging thief who is thinking about retiring and settling down into a cosy life running a jazz club. Then, Max (Marlon Brando) offers him a job with young thief Jack (Edward Norton). Against his best intentions, Nick finds the job irrestistable - but will it be worth it, or will this "one last job" be his undoing?

You can't go too far wrong when you put together a bunch of actors of this calibre. But this movie isn't just a bad script being supported by superb performances. The plot is not predictable; it is interesting and suspenseful. The movie takes its time to get where it's going - it doesn't rush through beginning, middle and end.

De Niro is wonderful as the slightly jaded guy who's pretty sure he knows his business inside-out. Brando is funny in his role as the overweight, hawaiian-shirt wearing layabout.

But it is Norton that steals the show. His character Jack painstakingly sets up the heist by pretending to be autistic and picking up work in the building - giving Norton a chance to prove that he really can act (as if there was any doubt!).

If you like heist films, De Niro, Norton, or any combination of these, give this film a go.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 18 Dec 2001

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 7.00
Lowest rating: 7 (by mino, pearly)
Highest rating: 7 (by mino, pearly)
Rating Percentage

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