Plot: Frank (Nicolas Cage) has been in prison for two decades, with all those years lost over a crime he didn’t commit. He was involved with some bad guys and some crimes happened, but he has served this sentence as an innocent man. As if his lost life wasn’t enough, Frank learns he has a terminal condition and his time is quite limited. This leads to his release from prison and on the outside, Frank has some choices to make. He wants to reconnect with his estranged son Joey (Noah Le Gros), but he also longs to settle up with his former criminal partners, who were responsible for his stint behind bars. Frank is able to begin to repair the broken bond with his son, but his dark side keeps flashing in and drives him to seek revenge against those who wronged him. How will he end up using this second life, however brief it might be?
Entertainment Value: If a movie centers on Nicolas Cage on a quest for revenge, I’m there and that is just what A Score to Settle offers. The narrative offers more than just a straight forward vengeance pursuit however, adding in some human elements and even some genuine emotional beats. I know some will be here just to watch Cage unleash some violent outbursts, but this movie is able to craft a solid story and I was able to invest in the characters more than usual. I still love the revenge aspect of the narrative of course, but I was pleased to find there was more here, not to mention Cage gets to flex his more traditional chops. So no, this one doesn’t dial up the Cage freak out meter much, but it is a well made, well performed movie. I think the father/son thread is very well handled and adds some good character development, while the action scenes are small scale and personal, which hammers home the revenge element. The up close and personal action really enhances the movie I think, as the cost of violence is emphasized, both physical and emotional, with loss of both time and life as themes here. I found A Score to Settle to be a well paced, rock solid revenge thriller with more depth than expected, so it earns a strong recommendation.
This is a solid effort from Nicolas Cage, one that might not trip all the manic lights, but it is a fun performance to watch. Cage shows some restraint and conveys some genuine emotion at times, especially in the father/son sequences that form the heart of A Score to Settle. I appreciate that the movie handles that fractured bond so well and Cage’s work in those scenes is quite good, very effective. While he doesn’t go off the deep in this one, Cage does know when dial things up a few notches and that happens here, with a few intense moments. This includes some Cage rage and high volume rants, as well as some sharp, aggressive exchanges that were a highlight for me. I think Cage makes the most of both his character and the dialogue involved, helping to elevate A Score to Settle and anchoring the movie well. Noah Le Gros also stands out, with a grounded, believable turn that when combined with Cage’s side of the bond, really drives home the broken, but still there relationship. The cast also includes Ian Tracey, Benjamin Bratt, Karolina Wydra, and Mohamed Karim.
The Disc: A Score to Settle is on Blu-ray via RLJE Films, in a beautiful visual treatment that really pops off the screen at times. I was impressed with the detail and depth, with even the smallest of details visible. In other words, you will know this is high defintion and the stark visuals really enhance the entire experience. The colors are natural and consistent, while contrast is on the mark, with deep, inky black levels. This is one terrific visual presentation. The extras include three promotional featurettes, with interviews and behind the scenes clips.