The Score (DVD, 2009, Value Line DVD Widescreen) Reviews
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The Score (DVD, 2009, Value Line DVD Widescreen)

127 ratings (124 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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The Score 1, Schlock 0

Jul 12, 2001 (Updated Jul 12, 2001)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Screen legend actors; good story; engaging movie

Cons:Heist movie, and there are only so many ways to do a heist movie

The Bottom Line: Unlike much of this summer's trash, The Score delivers great acting, a good script, and an engrossing story.

The Score is a gust of fresh air sweeping through the stale confines of this year’s summer movies. Refreshingly, it combines excellent acting with a good script that not only contains some solid suspense but also, (gasp!) character development. Frank Oz, directing, assembled an all-star cast, and they live up to the billing.

Bobby De Niro (I like to call him Bobby so everyone will think I actually know him) is the central character, Nick Wells, who is a master thief at the end of a 25 year career in which he has cautiously picked his jobs. Living as a jazz club operator in Montreal, Nick never does jobs in his hometown and never tries any “longshots.” Marlon Brando does his best work since Don Juan DeMarco as Max Baron, Nick’s fence who brings “The Score” to him – breaking into the customs house in Montreal for a fee of $4 million. Edward Norton shows off his acting talents as Jack Teller, the young, reckless thief who has the inside track on the heist, and thus becomes Nick’s partner. Angela Bassett, as Diane, Nick’s longtime girlfriend, is underused here, but, as usual, she makes the most of her screentime.

The Score is the mirror image of The Fast and the Furious. The latter relied on flash, quick cuts, beautiful people, and raw speed to entertain you. The Score brings you into the story the old-fashioned way: by telling you about its characters, developing a plot that actually flows, and building white-knuckle suspense with tense situations, not special effects. Of course, The Fast and the Furious has cleared $100 million already, and The Score will probably be lucky to get half that. Such is the state of the American public, but I digress.

The Score is not without its flaws. To a degree, once you’ve seen one heist flick, you’ve seen them all, complete with guards, safes, cameras, infrared beams and the obligatory doublecross. The good heist flicks do something different – either the thief steals something special or he does something special to get the prize. The Score delivers, as Nick comes up with a novel method of safecracking. Even if it’s not original, the script is still very good, and I for one, loved the ending.

As for the acting, Marlon Brando shows why he is a true screen legend. He’s 77 years old, tremendously overweight, but brings Max Baron to life: a criminal who is trying to make enough in one job to get away from the underworld he has dealt with his whole life. Similarly, De Niro’s Nick knows full well that everyone gets caught eventually, and is willing to take the risks in order to retire so he can convince his girlfriend to settle down with him. De Niro’s performance is his usual cinematic excellence. De Niro suffers from a lack of respect these days. The man never makes a bad movie, but Tom Hanks keeps winning the Oscars. No wonder he shifted gears to movies like Heat, Ronin and The Score, where he can take home $15 million for his trouble. It was a delight, however, to watch the two Vito Corleones on the same stage.

Edward Norton shows us that the only thing keeping him from being a screen legend himself is his looks. Admit it, if the gangly Norton looked like a young Brando, he’d be at the top of the blockbuster list instead of Ben Affleck. By the way, Ben, great call on passing on The Score to make Pearl Harbor. Some advice: fire your agent, and blame it on him. Back to Edward, he returns to his roots from Primal Fear, as Jack Teller’s angle is to pretend to be a mentally retarded assistant janitor in order to learn how to bypass security at the customs house without arousing suspicion. Truly magnificent acting in the manner of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Love this guy in everything he does – here’s hoping we get more American History X from him and less Keeping the Faith.

To sum up, this is the best movie I’ve seen in quite a while. Others have kept me mildly entertained, but I truly enjoyed this one, and wouldn’t shudder at having to watch it a second time, unlike the garbage we’ve had to sit through this summer. Take a break from schlock and take in The Score.

Recommend this product? Yes

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Every thief dreams of the big heist that will allow him to leave the business of crime behind. Every thief except Nick (Robert De Niro), a cool, metho...
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