‘A Score to Settle’ Review: Vengeance Is Fine

Nicolas Cage’s singing voice might not be the worst thing about the revenge thriller “A Score to Settle,” but it’s right up there with Clint Eastwood’s woodland warblings in “Paint Your Wagon” (1969). I could happily have gone to the grave without hearing either.

Which is exactly where Frank Carver (Cage), the onetime enforcer for an Oregon crime syndicate, is headed. A diagnosis of sporadic fatal insomnia has earned him early release from prison after serving 19 years for a murder he didn’t commit. Now he has two goals: to make amends to his troubled son, Joey (a colorless Noah Le Gros), and to track down and punish the surviving members of his former crew.

The reason for this vendetta is not immediately clear, but that’s par for the course in a movie that leaves a great deal unexplained until the final half-hour. Until then, “A Score to Settle” takes a strange, intermittently violent and digressive trip alongside a dying man of dubious mental clarity — in other words, the kind of role that’s bang in Cage’s wheelhouse. Less comfortable is his director, Shawn Ku (whose last big-screen feature, “Beautiful Boy,” was almost 10 years ago), who struggles to match his star’s surrender to a story that seems to have little idea where it’s going.

While Joey inexplicably appears and disappears at random, his increasingly addled father, bedeviled by flashbacks to his younger self (played by Cage’s spitting-image nephew, Bailey Coppola), gets medieval on a succession of former associates. Conversations about baseball bats and the benefits of applying vitamin E to gunshot scars interrupt the action; but not even John Newman’s distressingly awful dialogue can slow Cage’s roll to a histrionic finish. Or a wistful chorus of “I’m always chasing rainbows.”

A Score to Settle

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes.

A Score to Settle

When you purchase a ticket for an independently reviewed film through our site, we earn an affiliate commission.

Movie data powered by IMDb.com

Source: Read Full Article