No matter that it pivots on a shopworn cliché—the veteran criminal pulling one last job and then going legit. No matter that Marlon Brando looks like a parody of himself, simpering heftily in sub-Rod Steiger fashion. No matter that Edward Norton seems better when he’s doing his Rainman take-off than when he’s playing his supposedly true character.
Actually, Norton is pretty good overall, and Robert De Niro is rock-solid in the key role, a Montreal club-owner who moonlights as a high-tech, big-bucks safecracker. The Quebec setting is part of the movie’s charm, and director Frank Oz makes the most of the story’s blend of high-tech caper, urban noir, and honor-among-thieves drama. It’s a crisply efficient thriller with occasional moments of stunning brilliance.
Along the way, The Score gets in some satire on computer geeks and hackers and makes a quiet case for life in the city of Montreal. Angela Bassett gets maximum impact out of her brief moments in the film, and Gary Farmer lends amusing tough-guy support.
Music great Mose Allison makes a brief appearance as a lounge singer at the De Niro character’s bar.