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Overall Rating
3.67

Awesome: 17.95%
Worth A Look44.44%
Average: 25.64%
Pretty Bad: 10.26%
Total Crap: 1.71%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings


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Score, The (2001)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"As smooth as shit from a duck’s ass."
5 stars

Painting reality a lovely portrait, “The Score” is a first-class, first-rate crime caper.

Painting reality a lovely portrait, “The Score” is a first-class, first-rate crime caper. We’re not talking apprehending with a priceless Monet or van Gogh like in “The Thomas Crowne Affair,” but rather a priceless scepter of French origin. “The Score” begins with an unflinching confidence. Between the fading in and fading out of credits, we witness Nick Wells (Robert De Niro) interrupted while cracking a safe, but managing to maneuver his way out along with the sought-after jewelry. (Nice detail: De Niro drills a hole through the metal, and as his eyes, we watch the lock being cracked and the latch dropping into place.) Through each bleed-in and bleed-out, we follow Nick along his elaborate trail back to his home in Montreal, Canada. In that little bit of time, it’s clear that there’s no BS insofar as the precautions taken. By day Nick runs a comfy jazz bar and holds a cryptic relationship with flight attendant Diane (Angela Bassett). Everything that director Frank Oz has so far laid out for us runs copacetic; to steal a line from Robert Loggia in “Lost Highway”: “As smooth as shit from a duck’s ass.” Nick’s fence, Max (Marlon Brando) has no need to be anything less than excited with the results (except for the fact that the buyer of the jewelry has keeled over), but he’s already got another score for Nick to go after, and bigger than any before. The dilemma that Nick faces is nothing we haven’t seen before, the crook wants out of the biz in trade for a regular chunk of life, love, etc. Maybe the only difference is that there is no imminent push from the lover; an acceptance that when the time is right, it will happen. But Nick wants the time to be now, yet with a guaranteed $4-million for the last gig, it might be worth it.

Needless to say, he accepts, for a slightly larger sum, but when does the recalcitrant actually ever turn it down? We wouldn’t accept anything less than an offer he couldn’t refuse, coming from Max. The majority of the film is spent with Nick and his cocky, hot-shot partner Jack (Edward Norton) who came to Max with the plans for the heist. “The Score” elects to walk on a different side of the street; it’s strength is in following and attending to the details of planning the caper, and saves the actual act of it until the last segment. It’s not a long film, it barely passes the two-hour mark, but the suspense is a result of the scrupulous and unhurried pacing. Given any situation like that where it has you restrained and immobilized in your seat, and the portentous nature of the act will have you sudorific. The film elicits its merits mostly by the fact that it doesn’t hide itself under any veneer. Written by Kario Salem, Lem Dobbs and Scott Marshall Smith, the mechanics of the plot are familiar, yet well-oiled; it makes the obvious equally as exciting if not more than those movies that feel the need to trick their audience on every turn. And in his directorial duties, Oz minimally uses the act of deception, but even in the instance that it is used, it’s expected. Another minimal tool utilized is technology. Instead of letting the gadgetry and technological advances control the people, the people have the technology in their hands and control it. There’s nothing fancy that they use — maybe the convenience of a personal hacker is employed, but he has his dilemmas also. In a game of reality, and forgive me for not personally not knowing first-hand how close the thieving depicted is herein, I find myself believing this, over the majority of Hollywood’s other garble. Then again, I may only be falling prey to a tricky trap.

De Niro and Brando’s interaction is like watching children at play. Sure, there are signs of Brando’s rustiness and stuffiness, but his other vital signs pulsate in a more positive manner. (I heard a rumor from a colleague of mine that the scenes with Brando were virtually directed by De Niro — that Brando didn’t have the tolerance to put up with Oz. One only wonders how well he would have worked with the Wayans Brothers for his scene-that-never-happened in “Scary Movie 2.” (The cameo James Woods replaced him for.) One also wonders if Oz directs using his Yoda voice, or by hiding behind a curtain and using Muppets — just kidding!) Norton is also good, and his handicapped guise was more buyable than all of Giovanni Ribisi’s performance in “The Other Sister,” but he is out of his league. Like his character who demands respect rather than earning it, there is a traceable amount of that in his performance as well. Lastly, “The Score” wouldn’t be complete without the mention of the actual score by Howard Shore, a generally reliable composer who has scored the likes of “eXistenZ,” “M. Butterfly,” “High Fidelity” and “The Cell.”

Final Verdict: A.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5476&reviewer=172
originally posted: 07/14/01 05:23:48
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User Comments

10/21/10 Jeff Wilder Good if you like seeing great actors sleepwalk or underused. The script is weak. 2 stars
3/02/10 PAUL SHORTT SOLID PIECE OF OLD FASHIONED GENRE WORK, WITH A GREAT CAST 3 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 2 stars
5/19/08 Jack Sommersby Simply dreadful, uninteresting garbage with nondescript performances. 1 stars
4/07/07 Zanne Norton the only reason to bother.DeNiro walks through.Brando a wreck but sparks here&there 3 stars
1/15/06 Jerome Bosch Could have been worsem could have been Toronto... 4 stars
9/07/05 Indrid Cold Perfectly average movie that just happens to have three of the greatest actors of all time. 3 stars
8/30/05 ES I liked it, fast paced, great Brando apperance all shot in Montreal 4 stars
6/13/05 Agent Sands Strong cast & great twist ending make a worthy entry in the heist genre. Yes, it is a genre 4 stars
11/16/04 Naka Very, very mediocre. 3 stars
10/23/04 UMER brando was wasted but everything else worked 3 stars
10/15/04 Rose Ed Norton is soooooo gorgeous in this film !!! Also it is very clever and funny 5 stars
9/26/04 Mel Gibson's Boyfriend Norton makes a good scumbag but the story is just adequate at best 3 stars
8/05/04 tatum Strong heist flick, great direction, cinematography, and acting 4 stars
3/22/04 john a great cast in a clever, fast paced and exiting thriller - a good time at the movies! 4 stars
5/22/03 Francis What was there about this very average plot that attracted these actors? 3 stars
5/16/03 Piz A snoozer at first but gets better, as soon as it gets good, it's over 3 stars
5/14/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!!!) The whole cast is awesome, and the big get-even ending is one of the best ever. 5 stars
10/30/02 spacecowboy it's got a nice pace...and two great actors. awesome. 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 It seemed short. And I'm getting sick of Norton playing retards, he's better than that. 2 stars
8/07/02 The Man Takes an old formula and fills the end with high tension. Surprisingly good. 5 stars
7/26/02 sdjfsdkjf fuckkkkk what a mother of a slow start. The actual heist is brilliant but the film? Nah. 3 stars
7/25/02 ALFABOY what a waste of talent 1 stars
4/22/02 natasha some nice visuals, love Norton and DeNiro 4 stars
4/10/02 The Bomb 69 predictable ending,why does DeNiro break every rule he said he hasn't for the past 25 years 3 stars
2/24/02 R.W. Welch Lags a bit in spots but has a nice professsional edge to it. 4 stars
1/30/02 Phil M. Afficianado Really solid and engaging characters, story, and film production. Heist-plus (adds acting) 4 stars
1/29/02 John Slow for the first 3/4 s but an entertaining show of two great actors. 4 stars
1/23/02 Max Lethal No suspense - very predictable - a big waste of 2 hours. Rent something else. 2 stars
1/14/02 Andrew Carden Big Names, Nice Movie, Watchable, It's Over With. 4 stars
1/06/02 Monday Morning Excellent acting and moviemaking. This is a great film. 5 stars
1/02/02 Katre Let's give it to Norton again. 4 stars
12/28/01 paul just an average heist movie, with the cast of the year.... 4 stars
12/13/01 masin wolliams best viewed after midnight with a beer or two in you 4 stars
12/07/01 Dominik Duprelle Great Jazz club. Brando is a Zip Code. De Niro downloads another performance. humdrum. 3 stars
12/01/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! very interesting!!! Edward Norton... RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/01/01 Phoenix Your typical heist movie, but with names like De Niro, Norton, and Brando who cares. 4 stars
11/17/01 daniboy agree completely with Poot. still good popcorn flick 4 stars
10/23/01 Big 'un good plot but the ending was predictable. 4 stars
10/23/01 Poot DeNiro, Norton and Brando and it's still only 'Worth a look'. Disappointing. 4 stars
9/16/01 Mr. Hat THIS MOVIE ROCKS! ROBERT DE NIRO ONCE AGAIN KICKS BOOTY! 5 stars
9/01/01 Butterbean Smooth ending, but forgettable. Brando looked like shit 3 stars
8/23/01 Baphomet Norton is tha best. No bullshit action tacked on. Suspenseful n' Phun!!! 'nuf said!!! 5 stars
8/17/01 Obi Wan Very good. Loved the last 20 minutes of the film. 4 stars
8/14/01 puckfreak Pretty good movie, Brando is disgusting. 4 stars
7/31/01 Elvisfan Enjoyed Jamie Harrold, which says alot about the leads who were comatose at best, story OK 3 stars
7/28/01 Suzz fun caper film 4 stars
7/27/01 Crisis Management Intelligent caper movie, doesn't pretend to be anything else. No dumb 'action' here. 4 stars
7/25/01 Rita Dickinson I have a new favorite actor in Ed Norton 4 stars
7/25/01 Piz Well put-together and thought out, smooth flow, ended to abruptly for my taste 4 stars
7/24/01 SJKelley How did DeNiro's girlfriend go from willing courier to "quit or I leave?" 2 stars
7/24/01 Skiv Best movie I've seen this summer! 5 stars
7/24/01 Kurt Huber I was expecting a better movie, without the big names this one goes straight to video 3 stars
7/23/01 Will the three leads kick ass. story so-so. enjoyable, though. 4 stars
7/22/01 tnt Very interesting...pacing was like water slowly coming to boil! 4 stars
7/22/01 Blubberbot Pretty average movie. Maybe Average+ at times. 3 stars
7/21/01 sdfk We don't even bother anymore to disguise Montreal, so we set the movie there? 4 stars
7/20/01 svetlana ed norton is great fun wherever he goes 5 stars
7/20/01 Chris Best line from the movie: "I'm on the phone bitch!" 4 stars
7/20/01 Xalt Solid. Enjoyable. They even got most of it right. That alone rates a "coooool." 4 stars
7/20/01 malcolm more Angela Bassett !!! 3 stars
7/19/01 seldom scene more style than substance, Deniro is past his prime. cheap ending 3 stars
7/19/01 Hobbes I liked it better when it was called Ronin 2 stars
7/18/01 zeitgeist norton rocks. he owns this movie... 5 stars
7/17/01 Gay Tooth Fairy "You look like shit. What's your secret." Brando in The Score 4 stars
7/17/01 Obi Wan Loved it. I let the fact that it may have moved to slow slide. Very good. 5 stars
7/16/01 bobbuttons angela basset sucks. norton is the only reason to watch this. the preview gave it away... 3 stars
7/16/01 frank solid heist flick with three amazing actors 4 stars
7/15/01 Koitus Great acting, all around. Best part of the plot involved the computer hacker! 4 stars
7/15/01 Monster W. Kung Not a masterpiece, but really quite good. Brando, Norton and DeNiro were all great. 4 stars
7/15/01 rogue suspense was good, and norton was better, De Niro was the best! 5 stars
7/15/01 Max Cady Classy, suspensful and well-acted, THE SCORE is a fresh equation in summer movies. 5 stars
7/15/01 MaG I love tweakout computer person 4 stars
7/14/01 astrotart Ed Norton couldn't be better as a retard! 4 stars
7/14/01 Jimmy Krikit Hell yeah! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  13-Jul-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Nov-2001


Directed by
  Frank Oz

Written by
  Kario Salem
  Dan Taylor

Cast
  Robert DeNiro
  Edward Norton
  Marlon Brando
  Angela Bassett
  Mose Allison



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