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THE BRAVE ONE – Dario Marianelli

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Clark Douglas

While I was quite bothered by the way audiences responded to Neil Jordan’s thoughtful thriller “The Brave One”, it didn’t keep me from admiring the film for a number of reasons. It’s a well-crafted film with several three-dimensional characters and a story that doesn’t allow reality to slip away during the difficult moments. Jodie Foster turns in one of her best “victimized woman” performances, and Terence Howard adds some very solid support as the police officer who befriends/investigates her. The film is essentially a much more thoughtful take on “Death Wish”, a revenge thriller in which the heroine actually has to deal with the moral murkiness of her actions.

Jordan has frequently collaborated with composer Elliot Goldenthal in the past (“The Good Thief”, “In Dreams”, “The Butcher Boy”, “Michael Collins”, “Interview with a Vampire”). For unknown reasons, this time Jordan turned to a new composer, Dario Marianelli. Marianelli has impressed film score fans and critics in recent years with efforts like “V for Vendetta”, “The Brothers Grimm”, and the Academy Award-nominated score for “Pride and Prejudice”.

While Marianelli certainly provides an effective and well-written score for “The Brave One”, I’m sorry to say that it isn’t one of his more engaging efforts as a listening experience. The album sounds precisely like what you’d expect music for a thoughtful thriller to sound like… providing plenty of introspective moments and sprinkling in a lot of lower-key thrills. Marianelli’s main theme for Foster’s character (“Erica”) is one of those quiet, moody piano-based themes that sets the right tone without being particular memorable.

A lot of the tracks have elements you hear in most thriller scores… electronic percussion, chopping strings, little action motifs… but they rarely get to come out in full force, usually being tempered by some somber counterpoint or injections of gloom. Now, this is all well and good for the movie, and as I said, sets the tone perfectly… but it makes for a somewhat disappointing listen. The action is never really exciting, and the thoughtful material keeps getting interrupted by action bits. The strongest piece on the album is probably “Car Jam”, only because it hits the action button and doesn’t let up from start to finish. It even incorporates Erica’s theme via strings quite nicely, without ever losing its momentum.

I hate to say anything too negative about the album, because Marianelli is a talented composer who did his job quite well. However, I can’t really recommend it as a listening experience, because it’s just not that interesting on it’s own. Sure, those who take the time to give it a few spins will find some rewards with repeat listens, and there are complex portions that I admired, but that’s just not quite enough. A good job of film composition, a rather weak album of music.

Rating: **½

Track Listing:

  • Erica (2:29)
  • The Tunnel (3:51)
  • Gun Shop (2:52)
  • Corner Shop (2:45)
  • The Stranger Within (2:27)
  • Death on the Subway (2:12)
  • Back to the Crime Scene (2:59)
  • On the Prowl (1:40)
  • Alone (1:49)
  • Death in the Car Park (2:58)
  • No Going Back (2:44)
  • I Saw Nobody, Nobody Saw Me (1:33)
  • Wedding Cards (2:36)
  • Identity Parade (2:06)
  • Car Jam (2:59)
  • Phone Messages (1:57)
  • Retribution (3:00)
  • The Aftermath (1:49)

Running Time: 44 minutes 46 seconds

Varese Sarabande VSD-6841 (2007)

Music composed by Dario Marianelli. Conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch. Orchestrations by Dario Marianelli and Benjamin Wallfisch. Recorded and mixed by Nick Wollage. Edited by Michael Connell. Album produced by Dario Marianelli.

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