Movies The Score (Review and Spoilers)


Film Elitist
[FONT=&quot] There’s nothing else as gripping as the tale about a group of men putting so much effort into the art of theft. The key players, the plan, the execution; all of it building up to the answer of the dramatic question: Will they successfully make the score?[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot] Frank Oz’s THE SCORE carries the bare essentials that build a heist film although at times it feels as if the stakes are slightly unchallenged and some build up becomes disappointingly wasted. I became curious enough when I heard that Frank Oz had directed a heist film considering it sticks out farther than his usual quota. The man who’s timeless and legendary voice acting through the Muppets and Sesame Street directed a slick heist movie with Robert DiNiro and Marlon Brando no less? Yet welding on those straw-man first impressions is no way to approach any film.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot] The story operates on the basis of simplicity. Nick Wells (Robert DiNiro) is a professional career thief who has spent a lifetime legally managing a jazz club in Canada. He strives to become completely legitimate and own the jazz club with no strings attached. In order to accomplish this he must perform one final job that will make him financially independent for the rest of his life. His financial adviser and what could be equated to his agent, Max (Marlon Brando), informs him there is a precious historical scepter being held in the Montreal Customs House and that he knows a man who can collaborate in it’s departure. Nick is a man who works on a “his way or the highway” mentality and is very meticulous in his MO. So when Jack Teller (Edward Norton) openly contacts him in a public area naturally oppositions would mount between the reckless youth and the elder professional.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Max fronts work for Nick and are as thick as thieves oddly enough. Incidentally Max owes money to mob syndicate, which reveals the true reason he ops for this high-risk operation but they don’t play up that sub plot. They introduce this potential clinching moment just before the heist and it’s thrown off-screen. It strips the audience of its true impact on the story and what it means to Max and Nick. By entering the plot through diluted dialogue and acting so far into the movie it’s too little too late.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot] As much as I wish I could give the man credit I wasn’t exactly awestruck by Brando’s final performance. I could partially point the finger at Mr. Oz for using a few widely improvised scenes that seemed to dull the chemistry between him and DiNiro although trying to find someone that can spark chemistry with Robert DiNiro is like trying to find Ani DiFranco at a pro-life rally so I digress. Brando’s acting feels like he looks; over the hill and weighed down. The acting is not as concentrated as I thought it should have been and as a result Max comes off as an odd number. His written dialogue feels out of place and I didn’t think Max acted desperate enough. Definitely not his finest hour but to be fair it is most certainly not his worst.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Unlike HEAT or THE ITALIAN JOB the key players aren’t working against a known antagonist trying to foil their marks. Instead they catch a few snags and setbacks in the midst of planning the job. The suspense is drawn more from the rising action of the framework and less from the actual heist itself. When you contrast THE SCORE with a different heist film side by side the stakes might not seem as high. That’s only because the movie is not as heavy on action and instead concentrated on building tension leading up to the heist. Unfortunately that tension is short lived through what unthreatening action there is and its stifling predictability.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]My biggest peeve is the ending itself. It does all this work building up this highly anticipated job with a dramatic twist (as predictable as it was) and they leave you with a scenario that can only be described as a hybrid between a cliffhanger and a loose end. With Jack given the switcheroo and having burned all his bridges he’s left with nothing and in my mind being a very dangerous man. Judging how much I know his character I don’t believe Jack would be a man to take this lying down. He would go after Nick by and with any means possible. However we don’t get a last lead twist or a stand off, instead we cut a rolling credit sequence in an airport luggage pick-up.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]As I said previously, THE SCORE operates on the basis of simplicity and in my mind it becomes too simple. The idea of the movie begs complications otherwise it is very average and blandly uninteresting. They don’t take advantage of a possibly cringing sub-plot, the dramatic twist looses it’s flavor faster than cheap bubble gum and the ending looks like they just gave up and called it quits before filming the ending.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Frank Oz might as well have made this into another Muppet movie. At least then it would have had some stipulation.[/FONT]


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but personally I believe The Score was filled with excitement and there was a lot of non-stop action in this movie. The storyline was solid and so was the acting. Personally I thought it was a fantastic movie, surprised someone like you didn't like.