Musical Crime Film: Our Review of ‘The Score’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - June 30, 2022
Musical Crime Film: Our Review of ‘The Score’

Musicals are an acquired taste, and while at one point in time they were winning major awards almost every year, they’ve faded in popularity. At least on the big screen. Still, every so often a new one appears, trying to bring music to a genre they aren’t usually a part of. Director Malachi Smyth’s first feature film The Score is the latest attempt at combining two uniquely different genres. In this case, the genres are a musical and a crime film.

Mike (Stardust‘s Johnny Flynn) and Troy (Midsommar‘s Will Poulter) have never worked together on a score before. But after Troy’s brother ends up in jail Mike had no choice. They have to partner with each other in order to make the deal of a century. Unfortunately Troy is more than a little aloof, and has trouble not only following orders, but keeping himself out of trouble as well. He also thinks he’s smarter than he is, which when added with his other flaws makes an explosive combination. They wait in a small, secluded diner to make their criminal exchange. There, Troy meets Gloria (Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker‘s Naomi Ackie). She’s a woman working behind the counter of the diner, and he falls in love with her.

The Score feels like a stage play, partly due to the majority of the scenes occurring in a limited space and the long winded dialogue, but it clearly has aspirations to be something bigger. That ends up being a big problem, because it doesn’t allow the film to become a film. Films can show you things that a stage play cannot, but The Score never attempts to do that. Instead it relies on the characters to describe things to advance the story. It also keeps things vague, as a stage production would do when it doesn’t have the budget to create the setting.

This vagueness leads to several boring conversations the audience really doesn’t care about. On the plus side, the chemistry between the different characters is fun to watch. Poutler and Ackie play wonderfully well together as they explore their characters’ budding relationship. Meanwhile, Flynn and Poulter create a fun Of Mice and Men style relationship. This film has such strong leads. The director should have played off their strengths more to let the story come out more naturally.

While The Score is both a musical and a crime film, it doesn’t do either genre particularly well. The music is mostly bland and uninspiring, and doesn’t push the plot forward like the music in a good musical will. Meanwhile, the crime doesn’t tell you enough to make things interesting. There’s a reason there aren’t a lot of musical crime films, and it’s simply because a good crime film needs stakes. But a musical takes those stakes away and adds surrealism instead.

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While Roderick has only been writing movie reviews for a relatively short time, he's been a fan of film for as long as he can remember. It's a love affair that started when he saw Star Wars at a drive-in theatre in Kitchener when he was four years old. In the past decade he's fulfilled his dream of interviewing celebrities, attending red carpets events at festivals such as TIFF and writing reviews for outlets such as Realstylenetwork.com. He's always on the hunt for the next big thing to hit the screen.
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