Home > Reviews > TOWELHEAD – Thomas Newman

TOWELHEAD – Thomas Newman

September 12, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Towelhead – also known as Nothing Is Private – is the theatrical directorial debut of Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty, and is based on a novel by Alicia Erian. It’s another one of those stories of suburban dissatisfaction and the evil that lurks behind the face of normality in America, and tells the story of a young Arab American girl named Jasira (Summer Bishil) who is sent to live with her father in Houston, Texas during the first Gulf War. While struggling with her father’s controlling influence and the racism she encounters at school, Jasira begins to develop an unhealthy sexual fixation with a bigoted army reservist (Aaron Eckhart), who is more racist than anyone else.

As with American Beauty, the man providing the musical accompaniment for this depiction of racism, sexuality and intolerance in the modern world is Thomas Newman; his music for Towelhead is sort-of like American Beauty, but without the jaunty thematic content, which is instead replaced with various parts for Middle Eastern percussion and wind instruments.

The longest cue on the album, “Jazira Maroun”, is a hypnotic piece with an exotic electronic pulse and all manner of vocalizations and percussion beats to root it firmly within the realms of world music. “Nothing is Private” is a percussion solo; “Snow Queen” has an urgent urban vibe and a trilling synth beat; “Vuoso” and “Rifat Maroun” feature a pair of haunting woodwind solos of great mystery and atmosphere; “Glamor Shots” is a more contemporary piece containing an array of growling electric guitars; “Rain and Good Weather” introduces a skewed, distorted violin solo to add another level of slight peculiarity, which segues into the similar-sounding “Towelhead”.

And that’s your lot: the score, which runs for just 8 cues and 14 minutes, is only available as a digital download from Lakeshore Records, but still comes recommended for anyone interested in Newman’s quirkier writing on small-scale dramas such as this one.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Nothing is Private (0:40)
  • Snow Queen (1:09)
  • Jazira Maroun (3:48)
  • Vuoso (1:03)
  • Rifat Maroun (2:00)
  • Glamour Shots (0:59)
  • Rain and Good Weather (1:33)
  • Towelhead (2:51)

Running Time: 14 minutes 03 seconds

Lakeshore Records Digital Download (2008)

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.