"The Score" is the kind of classy, actor-driven drama that's something of a rarity in today's Hollywood of expensive special effects and CGI animation. But then, with a cast featuring three of cinema's finest actors: Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, and Edward Norton, "The Score" was never destined to be a pedestrian drama.
The set-up is deceptively simple. Expert safecracker Nick Wells (De Niro) is on the verge of retirement until his fence (Brando) tells him about a multi-million dollar heist that's ripe for the plucking. Tempted by such a juicy reward, Nick abandons his golden rule of working solo and teams up with a hotshot youngster (Norton) to crack the safe.
Blessed with such casting, director Frank Oz effortlessly fashions a tense thriller. Eschewing all-out action in favour of several deliciously refined set-pieces, Oz courts first-rate performances from each of his stars.
De Niro and Brando are typically impressive, with Brando proving far more sane and professional than rumours of his off-camera antics might suggest. Meanwhile, Norton demonstrates he's more than capable of holding his own in such luminous company, power-housing his way through the movie with all the fiery energy of an acetylene torch.
Genre fans may complain that the set-up is far from original, but by the time the heist begins (with Norton playing the inside man and De Niro donning the cat burglar's suit), you won't care that you've seen this all before - you'll be too busy holding your breath in anticipation of the alarm bells.
"The Score" is released in UK cinemas on Friday 28th September.