Directed by: Frank Oz
Written by:Kario Salem, Lem Dobbs, Scott Marshall Smith
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett, Marlon Brando, Gary Farmer
Released: November 29, 2001
Grade: A-

The secret of Nick’s (DeNiro) success if that he never bet on longshots.  As a master thief, he’s pulled off some daring robberies but on the verge of retirement, his old friend Max (Brando) offers him a final big score to set him up for life.  Max has been dealing with young go-getter Jack Teller (Norton) who works at the Montreal Customs House and knows of a priceless French sceptre locked in the basement’s secure vault.

Jack’s intimate knowledge of the House’s structure is a valuable asset but he needs Nick’s experience to crack the safe and steal the sceptre undetected.  Nick’s hesitant at the difficulty of the job and the inexperience of Jack but the thought of one final payoff to let him settle down with girlfriend Diane (Bassett) provides enough lure.

Without divulging more of the intricate screenplay, The Score is absorbing from the very opening scenes.  There are no unwanted subplots – it’s just three characters organising and implementing this cunning idea.  The screenwriters have gone to great depths to develop the concept.  Whilst the robbery itself is what filmgoers will pay to see, I loved watching Nick, Max and Jack plan every minor detail.  By the time theory is put into practice, you’ll be on the edge of your seat.

It’s no surprise Robert DeNiro put his signature to this project.  It’s a great script and a great character for DeNiro to portray.  Edward Norton hasn’t put a foot wrong in Hollywood yet and along side DeNiro they make a dynamite pair.  Marlon Brando has little screen time but in what I’m sure will be one of his final appearances, he makes his presence felt in an ideal role.

Criminal thrillers are a personal favourite of mine but an inability to follow reason and a desire to satisfy the audience with cheap twists is often the pitfall in creating them.  Not so with The Score.  It’s a realistic gritty look at just how easy it sometimes can be when you have the experience.