“It’s fun to play with tropes and expectations”: Malachi Smyth on musical heist film The Score
From the outset, writer-director Malachi Smyth knew he wanted to make something viewers hadn’t seen on their screens before for his feature debut. By chance, he started listening to music from folk musician-turned-actor Johnny Flynn while writing a film about amateur criminals planning a heist, and so was born the unique starting point of The Score: a genre-bending British movie that takes elements of comedy, romance and crime thriller, and throws in some musical numbers for fun.
It’s a bold move, even on paper, and even more so in reality, especially when the majority of the cast (bar Flynn) are not singers by trade. But, by assembling the cream of the latest crop of British talent, the team ensure that the proposition more than lands. Flynn co-opted to take on the role of cynical Mike, opposite Will Poulter as his lackey (of sorts), Troy. They set out to meet some more professional criminals in a cafe with a boot full of cash, but what ensues turns out to be a waiting game that leaves tensions and self-doubt to arise.
While Mike is caustic in his increasingly intense teasing of Troy, the latter comes off as affable and charming as the seemingly dense, but hopelessly romantic and impressively knowledgable geek of the classics and Shakespeare. He comes into his own when attempting to woo the witty and nonchalant Gloria (Naomi Ackie) while the pair await their big “score”. Smyth’s novel approach, which sees song laced into a crime thriller, subverts expectations of the well-trod genre to create something genuinely surprising, heartwarming and funny.
The Upcoming had the chance to chat with Smyth about combining different genres in his British musical heist film, working with Flynn as both a musician and an actor, and casting Poulter, Ackie and Lydia Wilson alongside him. He also expanded on the use of comedy and song in the film and thinking outside the box in cinema.
The Score is released in select cinemas and on demand on 9th September 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Score here: