Home > Reviews > VANTAGE POINT – Atli Örvarsson

VANTAGE POINT – Atli Örvarsson

February 22, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Vantage Point may be unique in that it represents the first time an Icelandic composer has written the music for a mainstream Hollywood film. Björk, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, and Sigur Ros have all contributed music to motion pictures in the past, but Atli Örvarsson may be the first to actually make a career out of it.

His film, Vantage Point, is a political action thriller directed by Pete Travis and starring Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt. The plot revolves around the attempted assassination of the United States president while addressing a rally in Salamanca, Spain, and the different perspectives of what happened by those who witness the event – innocent bystanders, secret service agents, journalists, and so on. The film actually got rather scathing reviews for its nonsensical, logically inconsistent plot, and disappeared from multiplexes quite quickly.

The same can be said of Örvarsson’s score, which is largely non-descript and forgettable. As the latest member of the Remote Control composer stable to make his solo bow, Örvarsson’s score somewhat predictably follows the lead set out before him by the Zimmers, Badelts, Gregson-Williamses and Djawadis of the world. A decent sized symphony orchestra, far too many synths, and a plethora of ethnic instruments is the order of the day, and although this may sound quite interesting, the end result is actually rather dull.

It’s an endless array of churning string writing, overlaid by synth rhythms to give the illusion of excitement, while the ethnic instruments add local color: Spanish guitars and clacking percussion, because we’re in Spain, duduks because there are Middle Easterns in the movie, and even the ubiquitous ‘wailing man’, to further amp up the Arabic stereotype. The action cues – “Run, Enrique, Run”, “The Chase Begins”, “Tightening Circle”, “Explosion Aftermath” – want to be exciting, but end up being merely annoying, with anything approaching interesting music hopelessly buried by all the electronic sound design.

The occasionally florid Spanish guitars in the more intimate cues like “Lewis and Anna”, or the upbeat “End Title” at least give the score the semblance of a human touch, but they are the best cues of an otherwise bad bunch. The rest of the music is little more than mushy electronic suspense music, which ticks and tocks and adds another layer to the sound mix, but does little of interest. Let’s hope that Örvarsson has some better music in him in future.

Rating: **

Track Listing:

  • Main Title (2:45)
  • Motorcade (1:36)
  • Enrique and Veronica (2:55)
  • Run Enrique Run (2:33)
  • Lewis and Anna (1:20)
  • President and Decoy (1:38)
  • The Chase Begins (2:50)
  • Serendipity (4:40)
  • Epilogue (1:55)
  • Tightening Circle (3:19)
  • Clockwork (5:07)
  • The President is Safe (1:15)
  • Explosion Aftermath (3:38)
  • Suarez’s Plan (4:00)
  • End Title (2:02)

Running Time: 41 minutes 30 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6883 (2008)

  1. bozpictures
    February 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Actually, the film was a suprirse hit, grossing 150M$ on a 40M$ budget, and remaining in a nationwide combination of screens for 9 weeks in a row in the US.
    Sorry for the unnecessary and potentially annoying nit-picking, but I couldn’t help noticing how erroneous the affirmation “it disappeared from multiplexes quite quickly” is.

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