The Score

Watching the cast of The Score interact with each other is more than enough reason to watch this movie. Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, and Edward Norton are some of the best actors of their respective generations, and The Score allows them every opportunity to flex their tremendous acting muscles. This film is different from others in the marketplace in that is emphasizes development over action. The protagonists meticulously plan every aspect of their robbery, practicing, testing and thinking of every possible mistake that may happen. Because of this, there is not that much action, which is a nice change of pace. The only problem is that sometimes, the story wraps itself so far into the details that it begins to drag.

Nick Wells (De Niro, 15 Minutes, Meet the Parents) owns a nightclub and robs people on the side. He is looking to turn legit and spend more time with his girlfriend Diane (a completely pointless and wasted role for Angela Bassett, Boesman and Lena, Supernova). Max Baron (Brando, Free Money, The Brave) is willing to give him the opportunity to retire. Baron wants Wells to work with Jackie Teller (Norton, Keeping the Faith, Fight Club), a relatively inexperienced robber. They are attempting to steal an expensive French scepter from the basement of the Montreal customs department. This is the payoff that Wells can use. However, he would have to violate one of his cardinal rules, which is never to stage a robbery in his own city.

Frank Oz (Ump, Bowfinger) directs his first dramatic movie, and he is able to maintain a high level of tension and intensity. The Score opens with De Niro in the middle of a job, carefully taking apart a safe. He is calm, collected, and in complete control of the situation, even when things go awry. There are two bursts of excitement in The Score; the scene at the beginning and the actual attempt on the safe at the end. Oz slowly builds the drama by focusing on the ins and outs of planning the heist. In Kario Salem (The Rat Pack, The Beast), Lem Dobbs (Dark City, The Limey), and Scott Marshall Smith's (Men of Honor) screenplay, based on a story by Salem and Daniel E. Taylor, the planning ends up sometimes going into too much detail. The ends up taking some of the tension away from the impending job.

Brando, De Niro, and Norton make up for this. It is always fascinating to watch Brando, especially now that he is so eccentric (especially with the stories flying around this production). On screen, his persona is assured and confident, and he easily dominates every scene he is in. For De Niro, this is a role more subdued than some of his recent ones, and it's nice to watch the small nuances in his role. It is tiring to watch him play 'the crook who wants one last score before turning straight' role, the most unoriginal element in the story. Norton holds his own against the two. His is the inside man on the job. Teller holds a janitorial job, pretending to be a retarded young man. The guards never suspect anything from him. It takes a while, but things build to a fever pitch. Each of these headstrong men mistrust the others, and the finale is almost well worth the wait.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
2 hours, 4 minutes, Rated R for language.

Back to Movies