Tell me if you ever heard of this plot: an aging thief wants to retire but is coaxed to do one last job? Despite this boringly familiar premise, The Score is still a heist movie worth watching. Mostly because of its experienced crew that made the most out of this plot and characters. The director is none other than Frank Oz (Bowfinger, What About Bob, Death at a Funeral), a man who can turn anything into gold. And I don’t need to talk to you about the cast.
I mean, The Score is a movie starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, and Marlon motherfucking Brando! This is Brando’s last movie role, making the movie feel even more special. He’s a beast of a man here, looking like fucking Vladimir Harkonnen. And the supporting cast is also excellent, led by charismatic Angela Basset. If you’re looking for a more intense heist movie experience with De Niro, I recommend you go back to the 1995 masterpiece Heat. And just one more thing. This whole generational thing reminded me of a criminally underrated eighties movie Family Business.
Moving on, do not expect exciting action or shootouts from The Score. This is more of a low-key affair with just a couple of action scenes that were actually quite good. A definition of a slow-burner focusing on careful setups and chemistry between the characters. And you already know the structure. First, we scope the place out and brainstorm about possible entry and escape routes. Then come up with a solid plan that’s executed in the final third of the movie. This doesn’t mean there won’t be any surprises because there most certainly will be.
Nick is a master of his craft and his craft is safe cracking. During his last job, he almost got caught so he’s thinking of retiring. However, when a young hotshot comes in and starts talking about one last job, Nick will start having doubts about his retirement. Six million dollars will do that to a man. So, Nick decides to join young Jack and steal a priceless scepter stored in the ultra-secure basement of the Montreal Customs House.
One of the reasons why you should watch The Score is to see just how much a great actor can enhance a mediocre script. I guess now’s the time we have to talk about the ploy Edward Norton’s character uses to set up the heist. He plays a guy with mental health issues almost mockingly. As you already know, I’m not easily offended or triggered but something about this just didn’t sit right with me. I know he’s a criminal who’s already amoral but still. So, I don’t know what to think about this one. I think this is too mild for a trigger warning but what do you think? Did you find it offensive?
Oz did wonders with the atmosphere, making it feel suspenseful and relatively unpredictable despite us guessing pretty accurately where the story is going. I just want to add that the heist will start quite late, in the final third of the movie. So, be patient with this one and you should be fine.
Director: Frank Oz
Writers: Daniel E. Taylor, Kario Salem, Lem Dobbs
Cast: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett, Gary Farmer
Fun Stuff: During breaks, Marlon Brando would walk around the set naked because it was really hot outside.