There are no partners
To examine the screenplay of The Score, one is obliged to
work backwards from the films unsatisfactory conclusion to the film's
unsatisfactory beginning. Most of the stuff in-between is pretty good.
Unfortunately, in the history of "plot-twists," The Score features one of
the lamest plot-twists in recent memory. The uninspired conclusion
undermines the rest of the movie.
The film touts four powerful actors: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela
Bassett and Marlon Brando. Fans of cult director Jim Jarmusch will also
recognize Gary Farmer in a small role.
De Niro and Norton grab most of the screen time. They're fantastic as
usual. Nick (De Niro) is an accomplished burglar. He's smart and he's got
style. Nick's covers his criminal behavior with legitimate ownership of an
impressive Montreal jazz club. Nick's club rivals Bogart's Casablanca
casino for atmosphere. The Score demonstrates top-notch art decoration.
Norton has the showier role. He plays a cocky thief named Jack who's been
casing Montreal Customs posing as a retarded janitor. The dual role is a
perfect showcase for Norton's dramatic range. While De Niro's character
plays it safe, Jack is all about risk.
Brando's character (Max) is necessary from a plot standpoint. Max is a
career criminal with the resources to set up the heist. Brando's
performance is uneven. Mostly he justs adds weight to the picture
(literally). In several scenes, the obese actor lounges about like a man
who just won a pie-eating contest on a hot summer day. Still, most serious
film fans will be glad to see Brando's occasional flashes of his former
self. Brando is 77. I don't think we're going to see much more from one of
Bassett is more than competent as the typical, underdeveloped Hollywood
There are two reasons The Score almost succeeds:
1. The Score has that wonderful "how to" screenplay. We get to see the
high-tech tools of the burglars. We get to see them plan a very
2. The robbery itself is brilliantly detailed and quite suspenseful.
But, despite achieving technical merit, The Score annoyed me with its lack
of depth. We're given no reason to cheer for "the victor." Yet, clearly
the screenplay wants us too. Likewise, we have no reason (until the last
five minutes) to dislike the "loser." Yet, clearly the screenplay wants us
too. The screenplay was asking me to do the impossible because it forced
me to buy into that age-old Hollywood idea of honor among thieves. What a