Saturday, February 12, 2005


The Score. De Niro! Brando! Bassett! Norton! All directed by Miss Piggy. A pretty generic caper/heist movie somewhat redeemed by good performances all around (with Bob in his dour, strickly bizness mode, e.g. "Ronin," and Brando playful, profane and absolutely huge) and straightforward direction that mostly just hits the marks until the Big Confrontation / Preposterous Letdown (see below).

Bob plays a professional thief ready to retire and settle down with Bassett, as soon as he pulls off One Last Big Score against his better judgment, etc...standard issue stuff. Usually these types of movies have extended ensembles populated with quirky characters (e.g. "Ocean's Eleven"), but this one brought the focus down pretty narrowly to the De Niro and Norton characters (Angela Bassett's character and scenes were almost completely superfluous). That's a good strategy if there is some palpable psychological tension between the main characters (e.g. "Heat"), but here there really wasn't.

Norton was good at playing a character who bluffed and puffed himself up to the level of the seasoned pro played by De Niro, but all the air was let out of this one by the laughable double/triple/whatever cross at the climax, which must have been retrieved from David Mamet's bottom drawer. (That would make a good thieves employed by a Hollywood producer to steal a screenplay from an ace writer..."The Player" meets "Mission Impossible"). In fact, the ending here reminded me a lot of Mamet's contemporaneous, and superior, "Heist." This was worth a rental, not worth watching more than once.

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