The Score
**.9 GM
Starring: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett

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As Edward Norton said on a Letterman appearance, if you get this cast together to do a dramatic reading of the phone book, you'll drop everything to do it, so the least I could do was head on out to see it. Of course, he also related a story about his first scene together with Brando and De Niro - he looks over at Brando and sees that he's trying to pour himself a drink, is completely missing the glass and pouring it on himself and not even noticing it as he's delivering lines, so he looked over to De Niro, who was actually falling asleep. Somebody yells 'cut!' when they notice the huge stains on Brando's clothing, and De Niro snaps to, looks around and asks Norton "Was I asleep?" and then starts to laugh a bit. That kinda gives you a sense of the difference between "what should be" and "what is."

This is a run of the mill heist picture. De Niro is Nick, an old-timer safe cracker preparing to leave the business and hook up with Angela Bassett when Max (Brando), his friend and employer, swings in with a risky job with a huge payoff that could set him up for life. Norton is Jackie, the man with the inside track on the whole deal, and he's way too eager to get the job done, which clashes with Nick's steady, cautious ways. They don't get along that well, but they have to work together, especially when it turns out Max'll get aced if they don't make the score.

The cast IS a good one, and they're all that really keeps the film from being a straight-to-cable yawner. De Niro could easily sleepwalk through this role (and evidently was), but he makes any movie worth watching, and Norton is stellar as usual, which makes their scenes more interesting than the script they're performing. There are some good moments of tension during the actual caper, including a smart lack of 'exciting music' that they should have kept constant throughout the whole heist. The problem is that you're brain-dead if you don't think Jackie is going to pull some shit on Nick eventually, and waiting for it to happen gets a little tedious... and the "big switcheroo" at the end is so obvious that when the credits rolled, I couldn't believe that the guys from "Raging Bull" and "Fight Club" bothered to make this movie.

"I Am Jack's Underwhelmed Indifference."

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