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The Score (2001)
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Review Date: July 13, 2001
Director: Frank Oz
Writer: Kario Salem, Lem Dobbs, Scott Marshall Smith
Producers: Gary Foster, Lee Rich
Actors:
Robert DeNiro as Nick Wells
Edward Norton as Jackie Teller
Marlon Brando as Max Baron
Plot:
An impenetrable building houses a very expensive European scepter. A pudgy rich guy hooks an old school thief up with a new scammer on the block and asks them to steal it. Once taken, the item would then be sold with monetary compensation spread to all parties. Of course, the older thief is making sure that everyone understands that this is his "last job" (yawn) and the rich, pudgy guy is Marlon Brando. Aaaaaaaaand action!
Critique:
Despite its generic title and storyline, this film actually managed to entertain me a little bit (a little bit, a little bit... ;). I liked watching it, dug the score and the whole "shadowy" look, but mostly just went gaga over the three generations of extremely talented and "method" actors appearing on the screen at the same time. Not since DeNiro and Pacino went mano-a-mano in HEAT have I been so excited. And as long as you don't go in expecting to see a fresh type of caper movie, you might just enjoy some of it as well. In fact, the picture is about 80% setup and 20% payoff, so most of the time you're just sitting there watching DeNiro and Norton butt heads (which isn't an altogether bad place to be, mind you). But the payoff paid off for me to a certain extent, and I actually didn't see one of the twists coming (neat!). But let's not fool ourselves here, this film would not have been made (or it might've been made but gone straight to video), had it not been for the fact that it includes the big three men on campus.

DeNiro, clocking in another solid performance, although not one that necessarily stands out from his giant repertoire of films. Brando, in only a few choice scenes, but making the most of his presence in the film by hamming it up, splashing some French dialogue into his character and drinking water like it's going out of style. And Norton, who surprisingly not only holds his own among the legendary actors, but one-ups them with the strongest performance in the whole movie. Granted, he's basically revisiting the same elements that scored him an appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony for PRIMAL FEAR a few years back, but it worked. Of course, I can't finish my review without mentioning the fact that I was also a little taken with the film because it basically took place in my backyard here in Montreal (and kudos to Oz for putting so much French in the movie...yup, it's really like that here!).

But the bottom line with any film, especially those presented under the auspices of the "heist" genre is that suspense, thrills and drama should be par for the course, but unfortunately, this film lacked on all counts. Angela's Bassett's presence was superfluous at best, and other than the film's final 15 minutes or so, it barely had any tension whatsoever. But I'm still gonna recommend this movie because I love all three of the main actors in it and had a blast watching them here. Sure, the story could've used a slight tap of the originality stick, but even though it was a little boring at times...I was never really bored! (does that make any sense to anyone?). Anyway, see it if you dig the actors, otherwise, just wait for video, a medium on which this film will likely be much better appreciated.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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