51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
GOOD RATHER THAN GREAT BUT WELL WORTH WATCHING!!!
, February 12, 2002
This review is from: The Score (DVD)
Aren't heist movies great? Warm and familiar like a comfy old armchair, they are one of the oldest and (if done well) most enjoyable film genres around. You can sit back at the movie theatre with your popcorn in one hand or at home in front of the TV with a beer, safe in the knowledge that some craggy, world weary old thief set on retirement will be persuaded to do one last job, with a rookie understudy whom he doesn't trust, on a job which you just know wont go as smoothly as planned.
The Score is no different in that respect in that it stars Robert De Niro as a craggy old world weary thief, persuaded to take on one last high risk job before retiring. Ed Norton plays the rookie understudy scamming his employers by posing as Brian, a man with a disability and learning difficulties. Of course Robert De Niro's character Nick, always works alone and doesn't trust anybody but he is persuaded by his camp bloated old fence, Max (Marlon Brando) to work with Jack (Ed Norton). You see Max (Brando) is in up to his eyeballs in gambling debts and is likely to be forcibly shuffled off this mortal coil unless he comes up with the money, Jack (Norton) is working on the inside and Nick (De Niro) is the only man with the knowledge and the skills to get the job done.
Like most heist movies it's a bit of a slow burn build up, it's all about building up the tension until showtime. Inevitably there are a few scares along the way and Director Frank Oz (yes that's right Yoda, or at least the voice of Yoda) does a decent job in building up the tension. Of course one of the great draws of this movie is Frank Oz's coup in getting Brando, De Niro and Norton all on screen at the same time in the same movie. Brando was in his day was considered to be the world's greatest living actor, a mantle De Niro has carried for the past 20/25 years. Edward Norton is not far behind and is generally considered by many (including myself) to be the greatest actor of his generation on the back of great films (American History X, Fight Club) and great performances (Primal Fear, Rounders, Keeping The Faith, The People Versus Larry Flynt, Everybody Says I Love You). Robert De Niro is of course reliably good but not at his brilliant best and it is Ed Norton in the dual role of Jack and Brian who has the meatiest part and adds some energy and vitality to the whole production. Marlon Brando's role however, is something of an oddity. It's not much more than a cameo and its something that he could do in his sleep, which is just as well because it looks like that's exactly what he did.
If there are any criticisms to be levelled at The Score it has to be on the basis that it really is a by the numbers crime caper and lacks none of the originality or vitality of something like Reservoir Dogs and nor does it really take full advantage of its AAA list cast. The opening sequences whilst interesting, perhaps lack the action and intensity you might wish, although they do serve as an insight into Jack's MO (he always works outside the country, he always plans meticulously, doesn't take chances and is never greedy). That said The Score is enjoyable first and foremost for its excellent cast and the opportunity to see them share screen time. Secondly the last forty minutes of the movie where we eventually get to witness the heist are excellent; the heist is great edge of your seat stuff and there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns and an excellent climax. Ultimately though, you are left with the feeling that you've seen this all before and done better. It's more like that trusty old arm chair, warm and comfortable rather than new and exciting. That said it's an enjoyable yarn. Good rather than great BUT still well worth a watch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?