ninth symphony films - movie reviews

THE SCORE (2001)

DIRECTOR  -  frank oz

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  thriller

LENGTH  -  123 minutes

RELEASED  -  13 july 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the score

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $68,000,000
the score - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the score at

buy the dvd from the score at

an aging thief hopes to retire and live off his ill-gotten wealth when a young kid convinces him into doing one last heist.

robert de niro was reportedly the victim of several practical jokes pulled by marlon brando during filming, including a remote controlled electronic whoopee cushion.


picture from the score

picture from the score

picture from the score


three out of four possible stars

The Score is probably one of the only pure heist movies made in the last decade and although it's not filled with half a dozen stories running at the same time, its drawing power is not in its simple story, but in the drawing power of its stars. Putting a group of well-respected actors in a movie together doesn't guarantee a film's success. But in this film, it works. Now, as I usually cannot stand so-called "method actors," I went to this film thinking I'd be in for two hours of pure torture while I watched a few good men try to understand the meaning of life. Obviously the purpose of any method actor's journey.

But I was pleasently surprised when I spent two hours in the theater thoroughly engrossed by the story unfolding before me. Or, rather, the people in the story before me. Because this film's drawing power is not the story. It's the actors. Hollywood has finally stuck some of the best actors in hollywood together and come out with a pretty good flick. Usually, you end up with something like America's Sweethearts. Or, worse still, something like Mars Attacks! Poor Tim Burton . . . but alas, I've gotten off topic. . .

First off, I have to say that the performance that surprised me the most was that of Marlon Brando. After several years of looking and acting almost comatose in his films, Brando really has created something hilarious with his character. In every shot, Marlon can be seen drinking mineral water from one of those distinctive blue bottles. But his character most of the time looks almost intoxicated. And if Brando's in a shot, he's always sitting at a table. Like in the bar that De Niro's character owns. It's almost as if Marlon is making fun of the perception that he constantly eats and has a plate of food in front of him all the time.

Now, this may be true, of course, but in playing a character like this and by self-depricating his whole persona, Brando's performance was almost like "Brando making fun of Brando." He may look drugged on the screen, but so many of the things that come out of his mouth are just a stitch. His delivery is very unique as well. Many times he says something at the beginning of the scene or at the end that looks very improvised and these funny things (like flipping De Niro off, for starters) just made me laugh. The fact that this film allowed me to laugh one moment and and sit on the edge of my seat in the next made me realize that this film is very layered even though it has just one story line (and a minor love story).

Again, it's the character, particularly the actors, that make this film just too interesting to miss. Listen to me, I sound like an advertisment for the film. But I'm serious! This film just has a lot going for it. In addition to a great performance by Brando, there's also the always spectacular Robert De Niro (please, has this guy ever given a bad performance?) and the dependable Edward Norton. I say dependable because you're not going to find a bad movie with Norton in it. Or De Niro for that matter.

Even with box office flops (though I don't think the two have had many of those) their performances are always right on target. They have the ability to become the person that they are portraying. When you see any of these actors in a film, you're not seeing the men who play the characters, you're seeing the characters they portray. They have that rare ability to make you forget that you're watching a famous actor. A supporting performance also adding an interesting element to the movie is that of Angela Bassett's character, "Diane." She plays De Niro's girlfriend and wants his character to give up the chase and retire from thievery. Bassett's performance is subtle, yet strong.

As a last note for my glowing recomendations for this film, I have to call attention to another one of the supporting characters. Jamie Harrold plays a computer hacker guy (he is invariably weird) who has one or two or ten marbles loose. Look out for his performance because it's pretty funny. People in the theater laughed out loud whenever this guy was on the screen. In any case, perhaps my only complaint on this film is that in some respects it is too simple. Now, I know I said I enjoyed that element a few paragraphs up, but since the film clocked in at just around two hours, I feel that there should have at least been a few more twists to the plot.

Something that I wasn't expecting at all. Because even though the ending was interesting and calculating, it was almost too long to wait for. I didn't feel satisfied at the end of the film. I felt there should have been something else going on. Maybe even a postscript or something. But don't think that you're going to be in for a boring ride if you see this film. It's really something that should be seen on the big screen.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs paramount pictures 2001
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