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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 Rob Gonsalves

"Worth it just for the cast."
4 stars

Dear God, did this movie ever arrive just in time. 'The Score' is not a great movie, or even a great heist movie, but coming as it did in the middle of the most unsatisfying movie summer in years, it felt very much like sinking into a cool swimming pool after a long, humid drive in a car with no air conditioning.

This film takes the apparently radical step of featuring characters of actual intelligence, who speak to one another with equal intelligence. More magical still, this movie respects silence. At several points, long stretches go by without dialogue or even noise, as if the camera itself were mesmerized.

It helps a great deal that The Score, a competent if nothing-special heist thriller on paper, showcases three generations of acting giants: Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, and young turk Edward Norton. Amusingly, the hard work increases in inverse proportion to the age of the actor here: Norton essentially plays two characters, De Niro contributes the sort of hardboiled professional he's done before (most recently in Ronin), and Brando eases his bulk into the nearest chair and watches and reacts.

Watching De Niro and Brando together, I had a random eye-opening thought -- "My God, here's the younger and older Vito Corleone together at last" -- but the thought vanished quickly: Actually they're Nick Wells (De Niro), a safecracker who owns a jazz club in Montreal, and Max (Brando), his old partner and friend. No question, there's a definite subtext to their scenes together -- Max warmly appraising the solid skill of his younger counterpart -- and when Norton enters the picture, as a sharp and vaguely contemptuous thief named Jack, his Gen-X impatience only adds to the dynamic, as if Norton were saying to his costars, "Hey, your great acting isn't the only kind of great acting; it didn't end with you."

Fortunately, Norton can back this up. In order to weasel his way into Montreal's Customs House -- wherein lies a priceless scepter Max wants Nick to swipe -- Jack has adopted the persona of Brian, a harmless, addled janitor. While Brian is waxing the floors, Jack is casing the joint. When we see Jack at work, and Norton at work, we understand that The Score is less about its plot (Nick and Jack grudgingly team up to nab the scepter) than about deception, acting, the theater of subterfuge. The Score isn't as suave and exhilarating as Ronin, which had the one-two punch of director John Frankenheimer and scripter David Mamet. It's mainly an excuse to get these three guys in a room -- three generations of controversialists (Stanley Kowalski, Travis Bickle, and Jack the narrator of Fight Club).

Director Frank Oz, taking a sharp left turn from his usual amiable star comedies (In & Out, Bowfinger, etc.), steers this vehicle smoothly. He's not a natural at action, and thankfully The Score has almost none. There are no car chases -- the closest we get is a scene where Jack drives around the Customs House tracking Nick's movements inside -- and I think there are only maybe two gunshots at the very end, fired at the wall. Oz's method has always been to point a camera at comedic actors and simply let them be funny; here he turns the camera on and lets his dramatic actors crackle. A movie like this benefits without too much personality behind the camera; there's more than enough in front of it.

The Score isn't without flaw. Angela Bassett shows up as Nick's girlfriend, who flies in every so often to be disappointed in him for not quitting his life of crime; she's a plot point, not a person. So much is made of Nick's jazz club -- he agrees to go in on the heist so that he can finally pay off the club -- that we expect more to come of it, and we feel a little cheated that we get no sense of Max's or Jack's musical tastes (it might've been fun to have Max or Jack make fun of Nick's tastes).

The movie is bare-bones and, frankly, wouldn't be much to talk about without its cast. Yet it isn't a waste like 'The Mexican' or 'The Negotiator,' two cases of banal scripts outweighed by star power. Here it's more like seeing three of Nick's beloved jazz legends join together to riff on some old standards; you're not there for the songs, you're there for the riffing.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5476&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/14/07 12:14:07
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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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