Home > Reviews > WE OWN THE NIGHT – Wojciech Kilar

WE OWN THE NIGHT – Wojciech Kilar

October 12, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Clark Douglas

I want to watch “Mad Dog and Glory” again. Sure, I’ve seen it a couple times before, but it’s worth seeing again. There’s this one moment that I love to pieces. Robert De Niro is a cop, and he’s investigating a crime scene, inspecting a dead body. As he does the inspection, a flurry of whimsy overtakes him, and he lip-synchs to Louis Prima’s classic “I Ain’t Got Nobody”. It doesn’t really fit with the tone of the rest of the film, but it’s such a wonderful moment, I’m quite glad it’s there. But why am I talking about that? It’s because the new soundtrack album for the thriller “We Own the Night” contains that song, and it made me think of that, and I wanted to mention it. Go rent that movie if you haven’t seen it, it’s a little gem.

As for the rest of the “We Own the Night” soundtrack… it’s a pretty even split between songs and score, with the songs coming up to bat first. As the film is set in the 1980’s, we get a pretty solid dollop of obnoxiously glammy 80’s style from the likes of Blondie, The Specials, and (less irritatingly) David Bowie. In addition, we also get some Latin flair from Coati Mundi and Tito Puente, and some old-fashioned tunes for crusty people like me from Louis Prima and The Jarmels. It’s an eclectic mix, and I’m sure that everybody will find something they like from this peculiar grab bag.

On to the score. Music is provided by the wonderful Wojciech Kilar, who hasn’t worked on a mainstream film since “The Pianist” in 2002. He is probably best known for his fine efforts for such films as “The Ninth Gate”, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, and “Portrait of a Lady”, but he’s done loads of excellent work on foreign films that you and I have never seen, too. Director James Gray worked with Howard Shore on his previous film, “The Yards”. Kilar and Shore both tend to write grim, dead-serious music for most of their films (interestingly, Kilar was nearly chosen to score “Lord of the Rings”), though Kilar’s music is generally a little bit more accessible than Shore’s.

The score here is quiet and a bit minimalist, with see-sawing strings softly urging the story forward. The first piece of interest is “Bobby Sees Joe”, which introduces a sad little music box theme that carries over into “Bobby Kiss Amanda” (not a typo). After a nice string theme shows up in “Bobby Breaks Leg”, we go back to the see-sawing for a bit (with a somber melody playing over the top). The rest of the score is basically a series of simple variations on these fairly simple ideas, leaving the listener a bit underwhelmed. No, it’s not bad, but there’s really very little substance or depth to the score.

Kilar is a great composer who has written some great scores, but here it feels like his job was simply to fill a few dramatic gaps between songs and sound effects. While I’m certainly glad he’s scoring a new film, it’s still pretty frustrating, because this is almost the exact same thing that happened with “The Pianist” (where Kilar’s work took a backseat to classical piano pieces). Sadly, “We Own the Night” isn’t substantial enough to satisfy the hunger of patient Kilar fans… it’ll only make them want more.

Rating: **½

Track Listing:

  • Heart of Glass (performed by Blondie) (5:48)
  • Let’s Dance (performed by David Bowie) (4:08)
  • Rapture (performed by Blondie) (6:28)
  • Message to you Rudy (performed by The Specials) (2:53)
  • A Little Bit of Soap (performed by The Jarmels) (2:14)
  • Que Pasa/Me No Pop (performed by Coati Mundi) (6:20)
  • Should I (performed by Louis Prima) (2:03)
  • Maraca (performed by Descarga Total) (6:03)
  • I Ain’t Got Nobody (performed by Louis Prima & Keely Smith) (4:39)
  • Mambo Diablo (performed by Tito Puente) (4:10)
  • I’ll Be Seeing You (performed by Jackie Gleason) (3:03)
  • Club Raid (1:30)
  • Dad Visits Bobby (1:31)
  • Bobby Gets News (0:42)
  • Bobby Sees Joe (2:09)
  • Bobby Kiss Amada (1:25)
  • Bobby Breaks Leg (1:46)
  • Vadim Escapes (3:00)
  • Burt Dies (1:03)
  • Funeral (1:09)
  • Bobby and Joe Talk (0:51)
  • Planning the Bust (1:48)
  • Vadim Dies (2:46)
  • End Credits (2:56)

Running Time: 70 minutes 03 seconds

Lakeshore LKS-339502 (2007)

Music composed by Wojciech Kilar. Conducted by Antoni Wit. Performed by The Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland. Orchestrations by Wojciech Kilar. Featured musical soloist Aleksandra Rojek. Recorded and mixed by Rafel Paczkowski. Edited by Angie Rubin. Album produced by Wojciech Kilar.

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  1. September 24, 2017 at 9:01 am

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