Monday, July 16, 2001

Movie Review: The Score

More and more, I am learning to appreciate movies that take their time. Maybe because nowadays they are so rare. The few recent examples I can think of are Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, and, surprisingly, The X-Men. Most other movies are always in such a rush to impress. It's like they've decided that because kids (everyone's favorite demographic) watch MTV, they have a short attention span, and they cater to it with reckless abandon, ignoring things like character development and pacing. They have only one pace: fast. I remember learning in screenwriting class that an action sequence is more exciting if it follows a slower-paced segment. Maybe I'm turning into a fogey, but most movies today are non-stop. It's cool, and they are fun, but it leaves you (or me, at least) feeling empty.

What am I getting at? What am I talking about? I don't remember.

Oh, wait. The Score. That's my point. The Score is a movie that takes its time. It establishes its characters: Robert De Niro as a professional thief who is just about to retire; Marlon Brando as the guy offering him one final, yes, score. And Edward Norton as an up-and-coming thief who is smart and kicks ass. It establishes place: Montreal. It establishes tone: serious, but slightly comedic. And it slowly builds, and builds, and builds.

Without giving anything away, Norton and De Niro are different generations of thief united for a job set up by Brando. De Niro is, of course, the consummate professional: patient, thoughtful, strong moral compass. Norton, although very clever, is the brash upstart: untrusting, more cutthroat, less scrupulous. So what's going to happen? Will they pull it off? I'm not telling. It's way too much fun trying to figure it out.

Well-shot and directed. An extremely tight, well-written script (some people said it was too slow. I didn't think so. Regardless, it never fails to engage your attention. All in all, my second favorite movie so far this summer. (My first being Moulin Rouge, of which I didn't write a review. Apologies. Trust me, it's good.)


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