Home > Reviews > MR. BROOKS – Ramin Djawadi

MR. BROOKS – Ramin Djawadi

Original Review by Clark Douglas

I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve heard this rumor that actor/director Kevin Costner is the sort of guy who is very picky about the music for films he is involved in. I have no idea how much trouble he’s given composers, or how much he knows about music, but I do know that the vast majority of Costner films have featured solid scores by solid composers. It’s interesting to note that the likes of Bruce Broughton, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Ennio Morricone, Maurice Jarre, John Barry, John Williams, Michael Kamen, Thomas Newman, William Ross, Gabriel Yared, George S. Clinton, John Debney, Alexandre Desplat, Trevor Jones, and Basil Poledouris are among those who have scored the actor’s movies. I seriously doubt many modern actors can match that kind of list.

While there’s certainly been a handful of lesser composers to tackles Costner films… Trevor Rabin, Lennie Niehaus, etc… I’m pretty sure that Ramin Djawadi ranks as the new low on the ever-growing list of Costner collaborators. Now, I’m not sure that Costner had any actual decision in the matter, and I’m not sure that he had any influence over how the score for “Mr. Brooks” turned out… but at the same time, considering his reputation, you have to wonder. The only reason I’ve spent two paragraphs on this subject is (a) to offer a semi-interesting bit of trivia and (b) to stall time, hoping to have to write less about the score itself.

You see, I don’t like writing reviews about things I hate. I’m the sort of film music fan who really wants to see young composers succeed, turn into real talents, impress everybody. I’d be perfectly pleased to hand out buckets of **** and ***** reviews all year round. Sadly, that is not going to be happening with “Mr. Brooks”, which is the biggest waste of CD space since Elia Cmiral’s “Pulse”. The score is a collection of incredibly bland noises and sound design, with a pathetic synth “up-down-up” motif serving as an excuse of a main theme. “Mr. Brooks” sound very much like a limp imitation of Harry Gregson-Williams scores for Tony Scott films, and you’ve heard those particularly Gregson-Williams scores, you get an idea of just how pathetic this music is.

Every once in a while we’ll get a snippet of melody, a compelling idea or two… occasionally, we’ll get something that sounds like a third-rate take on Ennio Morricone’s “Lolita”, or perhaps fourth-rate Thomas Newman… but as soon as they come, they die away, left stranded in a sea of aimless noise. I suppose the producers of the film feel the music is subversive and sinister, which serves the film’s purpose well enough… but why on earth did anyone feel compelled to preserve this rubbish on CD, much less to sell it to general public!

However, I realize I may not be in the majority here. Those who found much to love in scores like “The Prestige” and “Pulse” will undoubtedly be pleased with this effort, and to Djawadi’s credit, there is a little more melody here than in many of these droning sound design efforts… and it honestly does have a slight semblance of structure… but I’m afraid this album of music just has nothing of interest for me whatsoever. Let’s hope that Djawadi injects a little more life and creativity into his next assignment.

Rating: *½

Track Listing:

  • One Last Question (0:51)
  • Regrets of an Artist (2:10)
  • The Thumbprint Killer (4:46)
  • Addiction (2:45)
  • Hallway Burial (2:05)
  • Detective Atwood (2:26)
  • Unwelcome Partner (3:18)
  • Suicide Note (3:07)
  • Decisions (5:03)
  • Meet Meeks (3:44)
  • Her Story (2:26)
  • Are We Alone (1:40)
  • Realization (1:44)
  • A Clue (3:37)
  • Mr. Brooks (3:33)
  • Graveyard Standoff (3:38)
  • The Veils/Vicious Traditions (4:49)

Running Time: 51 minutes 11 seconds

Milan 36283 (2007)

Music composed by Ramin Djawadi. Edited by John Finklea. Album produced by Ramin Djawadi.

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