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Overall Rating
3.67

Awesome: 17.95%
Worth A Look44.44%
Just Average: 25.64%
Pretty Crappy: 10.26%
Sucks: 1.71%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings



Score, The (2001)
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by Andrew Howe

"Heist film lite."
2 stars

If you want to see a grown man salivate like Pavlov’s Dog, present me with a plot summary that features the word “heist”. Hard men living on the margins of society, knife-edge tension, unholstered weaponry, decade-old friendships and conniving double-crosses – it’s a ninety minute walk on the wild side, a guilty pleasure for the honest citizens who’ve always wondered what it’d be like to shove a pump-action shotgun into someone’s face and feel the weight of the hundred dollar bills as they waltz out of the bank, and when a cursory examination of the cast reveals the names Robert De Niro and Edward Norton you’d be excused for thinking that you’re on to a sure thing.

However, the remaining credits of The Score tell the story – instead of Scorsese we’ve got Frank Oz, while Singer and Tarantino have been usurped by Salem, Smith and Dobbs. Whatever potential De Niro and Norton saw in the script is not evident from the finished product, leaving us with a lacklustre runaround that appears to be aimed at everyone who normally avoids this kind of film because they dislike excessive profanity and violence (which is like drinking a martini without the gin – your liver will love you for it, but your beatific smile will be replaced by a look of rueful resignation).

De Niro plays Nick Wells, a master thief who divides his time between his girlfriend (Angela Basset) and pulling jobs which require nerves of steel and a knowledge of the inherent flaws in safe construction that borders on the obsessive. Max (Marlon Brando), a fence who would have been a dandy if he’d been about thirty years younger, introduces him to Jackie Teller (Norton), an aspiring criminal who takes a janitorial position at a customs house with the intention of masterminding an inside job. All he needs is a safecracker, and Wells is the best in the business, but he’s got his heart set on retiring to a life of bar management. Since the film isn’t a remake of Casablanca we only need to waste a third of the running time waiting for him to sign up, at which point the stage is set for an intricately plotted caper that should see everyone in gravy for the rest of their natural lives.

The film’s failure can be laid squarely at the door of the sanitised script – there’s none of the underlying menace that made Ronin so atmospherically oppressive, the violence (threatened or otherwise) and memorable dialogue that propelled Reservoir Dogs are nowhere to be seen, and even the absorbing minutiae of planning the job which underpinned The Killing is absent without leave. Instead we’ve got a bunch of thinly-drawn characters plotting a garden variety heist (it’s obviously nowhere near as impossible as Wells makes out), working from a script which does its level best to keep the pace down to a Sunday afternoon saunter.

Every single character is a graduate from central casting, but we might expect that actors of this calibre would rise above their roles. Norton certainly does – he always invests his performances with a certain edge, and the concern that some form of psychosis might lie behind his affable manner is the only aspect of the film that raises the slightest measure of interest. The script calls for him to spend much of his time impersonating a mentally disabled caretaker, and while it’s difficult to shake the impression that he’s simply showing off it’s considerably more than anyone else manages to achieve.

De Niro is hamstrung by a character devoid of either humour or menace, and playing an average guy who happens to make his living cracking safes is a waste of his talents. The underused Basset is afforded precious little screen time, while Gary Farmer is reduced to making infrequent appearances as strongarm support. As for Brando – well, Don Juan DeMarco proved that he hasn’t entirely lost it, but here he simply looks old and tired, and the obvious affectations that have haunted his career are present and accounted for (this is not the place to debate the merits of method acting, but at least in On the Waterfront his studious mannerisms were appropriate to the occasion).

A riveting heist sequence might have saved the film, but it’s probably the least involving criminal undertaking I’ve ever witnessed. We’ve seen it all before, and the two man team precludes the scriptwriters from expanding the narrative. The film also works its way to a jaw-dropping anti-climax, ensuring you’ll leave the cinema on an all-time low.

It would be unfair to label The Score a failure – it’s professional in every aspect of its production, and one should never pass up the opportunity to watch De Niro and Norton strut their stuff. However, the script’s refusal to take any chances is the film’s death knell - “pleasant entertainment” is not a term which should be applicable to any serious entry in the genre, but if the filmmakers don’t mind accepting backhanded compliments they can take it for what it’s worth.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5476&reviewer=193
originally posted: 11/21/01 01:44:04
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User Comments

10/20/10 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
5/18/08 Jack Sommersby Simply dreadful, uninteresting garbage with nondescript performances. 1 stars
4/06/07 Zanne Norton the only reason to bother.DeNiro walks through.Brando a wreck but sparks here&there 3 stars
1/14/06 Jerome Bosch Could have been worsem could have been Toronto... 4 stars
9/06/05 Indrid Cold Perfectly average movie that just happens to have three of the greatest actors of all time. 3 stars
8/29/05 ES I liked it, fast paced, great Brando apperance all shot in Montreal 4 stars
6/12/05 Agent Sands Strong cast & great twist ending make a worthy entry in the heist genre. Yes, it is a genre 4 stars
11/15/04 Naka Very, very mediocre. 3 stars
10/23/04 UMER brando was wasted but everything else worked 3 stars
10/14/04 Rose Ed Norton is soooooo gorgeous in this film !!! Also it is very clever and funny 5 stars
9/25/04 Mel Gibson's Boyfriend Norton makes a good scumbag but the story is just adequate at best 3 stars
8/04/04 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
5/21/03 Francis What was there about this very average plot that attracted these actors? 3 stars
5/15/03 Piz A snoozer at first but gets better, as soon as it gets good, it's over 3 stars
5/13/03 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
10/26/02 MarktheShark6 It seemed short. And I'm getting sick of Norton playing retards, he's better than that. 2 stars
8/06/02 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
7/24/02 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
1/28/02 John Slow for the first 3/4 s but an entertaining show of two great actors. 4 stars
1/22/02 Max Lethal No suspense - very predictable - a big waste of 2 hours. Rent something else. 2 stars
1/13/02 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
1/01/02 Katre Let's give it to Norton again. 4 stars
12/27/01 paul just an average heist movie, with the cast of the year.... 4 stars
12/12/01 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
11/30/01 Phoenix Your typical heist movie, but with names like De Niro, Norton, and Brando who cares. 4 stars
11/16/01 daniboy agree completely with Poot. still good popcorn flick 4 stars
10/22/01 Big 'un good plot but the ending was predictable. 4 stars
10/22/01 Poot DeNiro, Norton and Brando and it's still only 'Worth a look'. Disappointing. 4 stars
9/15/01 Mr. Hat THIS MOVIE ROCKS! ROBERT DE NIRO ONCE AGAIN KICKS BOOTY! 5 stars
8/31/01 Butterbean Smooth ending, but forgettable. Brando looked like shit 3 stars
8/22/01 Baphomet Norton is tha best. No bullshit action tacked on. Suspenseful n' Phun!!! 'nuf said!!! 5 stars
8/16/01 Obi Wan Very good. Loved the last 20 minutes of the film. 4 stars
8/13/01 puckfreak Pretty good movie, Brando is disgusting. 4 stars
7/30/01 Elvisfan Enjoyed Jamie Harrold, which says alot about the leads who were comatose at best, story OK 3 stars
7/27/01 Suzz fun caper film 4 stars
7/26/01 Crisis Management Intelligent caper movie, doesn't pretend to be anything else. No dumb 'action' here. 4 stars
7/24/01 Rita Dickinson I have a new favorite actor in Ed Norton 4 stars
7/24/01 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
7/23/01 Skiv Best movie I've seen this summer! 5 stars
7/23/01 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
7/21/01 tnt Very interesting...pacing was like water slowly coming to boil! 4 stars
7/21/01 Blubberbot Pretty average movie. Maybe Average+ at times. 3 stars
7/20/01 sdfk We don't even bother anymore to disguise Montreal, so we set the movie there? 4 stars
7/19/01 svetlana ed norton is great fun wherever he goes 5 stars
7/19/01 Chris Best line from the movie: "I'm on the phone bitch!" 4 stars
7/19/01 Xalt Solid. Enjoyable. They even got most of it right. That alone rates a "coooool." 4 stars
7/19/01 malcolm more Angela Bassett !!! 3 stars
7/19/01 seldom scene more style than substance, Deniro is past his prime. cheap ending 3 stars
7/18/01 Hobbes I liked it better when it was called Ronin 2 stars
7/17/01 zeitgeist norton rocks. he owns this movie... 5 stars
7/16/01 Gay Tooth Fairy "You look like shit. What's your secret." Brando in The Score 4 stars
7/16/01 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
7/15/01 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
7/14/01 Monster W. Kung Not a masterpiece, but really quite good. Brando, Norton and DeNiro were all great. 4 stars
7/14/01 rogue suspense was good, and norton was better, De Niro was the best! 5 stars
7/14/01 Max Cady Classy, suspensful and well-acted, THE SCORE is a fresh equation in summer movies. 5 stars
7/14/01 MaG I love tweakout computer person 4 stars
7/14/01 astrotart Ed Norton couldn't be better as a retard! 4 stars
7/13/01 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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