Review by Camden Ferrell
The Score is a crime musical that is also the feature directorial debut of Malachi Smyth. This British movie had its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia in 2021. Featuring some great music from Johnny Flynn, this is an above average heist movie that relies heavily on dialogue and chemistry that works more often than not.
Mike and Troy are two small-time crooks who are in pursuit of a titular score, one that could transform their lives entirely. This heist involves a rendezvous at a small café. While waiting at the café, Troy falls in love with a waitress named Gloria, and he begins to question the decisions he has made in his life. All of this unfolds through song while real danger approaches. This premise limits the scope of the movie which can work as long as you have actors and a script that can maintain interest despite taking place in primarily one location.
The writing is fairly strong but can sometimes be inconsistent in its quality and pacing. The dialogue between Mike and Troy works well to establish their relationship, and it works at feeling natural and authentic. Once the movie shifts to the café, the dialogue is still relatively strong even if there are patches throughout that don’t work particularly well. The movie also does a pretty good job of structuring its narrative around Flynn’s songs.
The acting is strong throughout thanks to the natural charisma and talent of its main cast. Johnny Flynn and Will Poulter lead the film as Mike and Troy respectively. Naomi Ackie joins them in a supporting role as Gloria. All three of these actors have proven throughout their careers that they are talented individuals, and more times than not; this talent is on display in this movie. My one qualm is that despite being lovers in the film, the chemistry between Poulter and Ackie isn’t great always, but it’s still mostly believable.
The real standout of this movie is the music from Flynn. The songs are all catchy and it’s lifted up by some surprisingly great singing voices from the cast. Smyth also executes these scenes in an interesting and creative manner that make these moments excel significantly over the rest of the movie. Even when the pacing is questionable, the songs are reliably great and can help carry the film despite its flaws.
The Score is a simple story of crime, love, and music, and most audiences will find at least one thing to enjoy about it. The writing, acting, and direction isn’t perfect, but it’s still mostly commendable. If nothing else, the movie can at least prove these actors are also quite musically inclined which I definitely wasn’t expecting.
The Score is available in theaters June 3 and on VOD June 10.