The Score

**1/2

Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

The Score undoubtedly has one of the most intriguing casts recently seen, putting old hands Brando and De Niro alongside Edward Norton and Angela Basset.

The plot concerns master thief Nick (De Niro) who has so far evaded capture due to his very cautious nature. He's now tired of crime, and plans to settle down with his jazz club and his girlfriend (Basset) in Montreal.

However, that elusive thing, the risk-free, high-yield score then falls into his lap, courtesy of Jack (Norton) a cocky young crim who's been staking out Montreal Customs House on the trail of a priceless golden sceptre.

Resistant at first, Nick is gradually persuaded by his underworld contact Max (Brando) to take on this one last job. He sees the score as his way out of debt; "It's a tiny door, Nick. You open the door, you take the shit, you close the door. We're out."

But can Nick trust the sleazy Max or the cocksure Jack? And is the score quite as easy as it looks...?

Moodily directed by Frank Oz, making full use of his gloomy yet stylish Montreal setting, The Score languidly heightens the tension, building to the frantic job itself. It's very well done indeed, as we cut from De Niro's clever thief back to Norton, as things start to go wrong.

But then - and here's where the film falls down - it just ENDS. Like that. I sat in a whole audience of people, caught in mid-chew of their popcorn, blinking, looking around at each other and saying, "Is that it???"

The film seems to be building to a confrontation between the actors but instead you get the credits. And given the fine cast, this lack of a Third Act is a major mistake.

As it is, De Niro walks through his part while Basset (one of the most undervalued and under-used actresses around) is undervalued and under-used.

It's Edward Norton who walks off with this film as the edgy and dangerous Jack, although it is nice seeing Brando actually acting again, after years of cashing huge cheques for appearing in two scenes. (Mind you, I suppose it paid for his groceries.)

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2001
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A master criminal plans one last heist.
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Angus Wolfe Murray **

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Robert Towne

Starring: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett, Gary Farmer, Paul Soles, Jamie Harrold, Serge Houde, Jean-René Ouellet, Martin Drainville, Claude Despins

Year: 2001

Runtime: 123 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, Germany

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