The Score (2001) starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett, Gary Farmer, Paul Soles, Jamie Harrold, Serge Houde directed by Frank Oz Movie Review

The Score (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Edward Norton and Robert De Niro in The Score

De Niro and Norton Almost Score

Released back in 2001 "The Score" is a competent but pretty obvious heist movie which whilst fairly enjoyable to watch, fails to deliver anything in the least bit different to other heist movies. Unlike many heist movies "The Score" doesn't rely on huge visuals to gain your attention but a moderately well developed plot and the relationship between the various characters. The only thing which makes it that bit more special is that it stars 3 of Hollywood's biggest talents; Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando.

Nick (Robert De Niro - Meet the Parents) is a master thief who never takes undue risks decides that his life of crime is over and he is ready to retire. Except his long term friend Max (Marlon Brando - The Freshman) convinces him to do one last job that will make all those involved seriously rich by stealing a priceless sceptre from the Montreal customs house. With the aid of Jack (Edward Norton - Keeping the Faith), an aspiring thief, they work up a plan to steal the sceptre but as with all well laid plans things don't always go as they should.

Marlon Brando as Max in The Score

Set in Toronto "The Score" shows a lot of promise of being a slightly better than average thriller and with 3 huge acting talents in Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando the expectations are understandably high. But sadly it fails to live up to those high expectations as it ends up being routine. The trouble is with the premise of it being one last job you know things are never going to run smoothly and of course you are going to expect a twist or two. If only they had strayed away from the formula then maybe "The Score" would stick out as being special but sadly it doesn't.

Don't get me wrong as the plot is fairly competent and the various crimes are shown in a way that it manages to keep you interested in what is going on. Even the fact that over 2 hours "The Score" doesn't feel like it has been overly dragged out. It is purely down to it playing it quite safe when it comes to the plot that it becomes spoilt and stops it from being more than averagely interesting and entertaining.

The real pulling power when it comes to "The Score" is not in the characters but in the actual big names which appear. To be blunt the characters are not that interesting and again are not so different to any that appear in similar movies but it is the stars Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando which attract you to the movie.

Marlon Brando, in what would be his last movie role, shows that despite no longer being the major star that he once was still has the power to fill a screen not only with his size but more importantly with his performance. Sadly his character of Max does not allow him to truly show all of his talents but the gravitas he brought to the role turned it from being what could easily have been a background character into one which deservedly took a more central role.

Alongside Marlon Brando is Robert De Niro an actor which many say took over from Brando when his star lost some of its shine. Sadly De Niro doesn't put in one of his most memorable performances in "The Score". It would be cruel to say that he basically coasted through the movie but at times it certainly feels that his performance lacked any enthusiasm. This is probably down to his character, Nick, actually not demanding a huge performance but you can safely say that this performance is one of De Niro's least memorable.

The actor who comes out of "The Score" demonstrating that he is a good actor is Edward Norton and he more than holds his own in such illustrious company. Norton manages to bring his character, Jack, to life on screen and at least gives "The Score" a much need injection of pace in many a scene. Unlike Brando and De Niro I would say that Norton grasped the opportunity to shine in the company of giants even though the movie itself wasn't that special.

What this all boils down to is that although "The Score" is at times stylish and is more than competent it just lacks that spark of originality to make it really interesting. It is very much a case of that "The Score" is just far too generic and if you enjoy heist movies you could end up watching this and comparing various scenes to those you have watched in other more memorable movies. It's not a bad movie and watched just the once it will just about entertain but it's disappointing that with such big names it lacked those big performances or anything in the slightest bit new to add to an often used formula.