Small-time crooks plan a big job in this blend of British crime movie, romance and musical. Yep, musical. Writer-director Malachi Smyth has penned a lockdown gangster flick and weaved in songs from the back catalogue of musician and actor Johnny Flynn, who also co-stars as Mike, the criminal cohort of Troy (Will Poulter). It’s an unusual decision that yields mixed results.
Over the course of one day, Mike and Troy prepare to meet a mysterious contact in a rural café. As they do so, their characters and moods are revealed, and they occasionally break into song. There’s an easy way of knowing who to root for: world-weary Mike is rude to the waitress, Gloria (Lady Macbeth’s Naomi Ackie), while upbeat Troy tries to woo her with a sweetness that seems initially incongruous but ultimately adds heart to the film.
But the banter-heavy script feels mannered and it’s too easy to mentally recast The Score with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Tarantino-esque monologues are sometimes funny, more often derivative. But an understated Ackie holds the attention and invites sympathy, and there’s harmony in every sense when Gloria and Troy share a romantic number or two. As the dramatic stakes are raised, there’s enough tension to see you through to the emotional ending.
This mix of crime movie, romance and musical doesn’t always strike the right notes
The Score doesn’t always strike the right notes, but it has its high points thanks to a simple, rewarding romantic arc.
In UK cinemas Sep 9.