The Score TIFF review

The Plot

Two small time crooks drive to a remote location waiting for a big ‘score’ and pass the time by awkwardly interacting with the sparse customers and staff of a small café. But the longer they wait for their mysterious meeting the more complicated and tense their situation becomes.

The Good

Will Poulter continues to emerge as a truly magnificent and deeply likeable talent. Having well established a firm fanbase with his excellent big screen and television work he continues to inject an affable charisma into all his performances. In The Score an increasingly rugged Poulter provides the heart and humour of the film through his performance as Troy, a kind hearted and hapless reluctant hoodlum. The comical contrast and exchanges between him and his older far more abrasively menacing partner in crime are the firm driving force behind the films story.

Alongside Poulter, Johhny Flynn provides a convincingly antagonistic presence as Mike, Troy’s bullying and quite possibly dangerous criminal compatriot. Their sparring conversations lurch from absurdly comedic to genuinely tense throughout the film providing modest charm and intrigue.

Naomi Ackie likewise works well with Poulter to give the film some awkwardly simmering romantic chemistry, playing the café’s feisty barista Gloria. Her clashes with Flynn’s caustic Mike and unlikely chemistry with Poluter’s well intentioned thug Troy sets up odd and evolving dynamics that ultimately propel he film towards a vigorous finale.

The cast are also clearly enthusiastic and uninhibited about the film’s frequent musical demands, very obviously doing their best to inject subtle meaning and soft spoken melody into their singing. It’s to their credit, especially Poulter’s, that they manage to maintain a sense of momentum and reality despite the film’s whimsical eccentricities and constantly shifting tone.

The Bad

While musicals certainly attract a massive fanbase The Score is a strange breed of hybrid between a sluggishly paced indie drama and the more flamboyant musical genre. This unexpected mashup occasionally works well, but often seems to slow the pace of the film even further as characters interrupt normal scenes with lengthy musical mumblings. The almost complete lack of choreography and oddly passive nature of character’s entirely self-contained singing make the films musical qualities often feel somewhat unnecessary. Merely serving to mostly distract from an otherwise interesting conventional drama.

Though the film moves toward an ultimately interesting climax the film is a slow burn that pads a relatively simple story with its lengthy musical refrains. While some might feel it gives the film a unique personality and a literally lyrical quality, it’s certainly a devisees experiment. The understated performances and largely muted singing voices of the cast further adds to a slightly awkward school play feel every time a character breaks off into their own detached musical monologue.

The Ugly Truth

A talented cast and the novelty factor of the film’s quirky musical offerings makes The Score a watchable but likely divisive experience. Some will consider the film a memorable oddity while other audiences may find themselves less charmed by the films slow paced and unnecessary musical refrains.

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