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RICKY – Philippe Rombi

February 13, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A fantastical French drama from director François Ozon, Ricky stars Alexandra Lamie and Sergi Lopez as Katie and Paco, a single mother and a factory worker in modern, working class Paris, who begin a relationship and have a son together: the eponymous Ricky of the title. However, when baby Ricky begins to behave erratically, and begins to develop lesions on his skin, it increases the stresses on Katie and Paco’s relationship, with Kate accusing Paco of abuse; however, there is more to little Ricky than meets the eye…

The music for Ricky is by the exceptionally talented young French composer Philippe Rombi, director Ozon’s composer of choice; this is their sixth film together, following such spectacular efforts as Swimming Pool and Angel. As is always the case with Rombi’s music, Ricky is a gorgeous, thematic delight, filled with expressive piano solos, tender string writing, and a Golden Age sensibility which is simply wondrous. The opening “Ricky Theme” is a slightly melancholic, but utterly beautiful piano melody, innocent and pure, backed with a leisurely string wash and rolling harps; when the melody is taken over by a celeste, and then a lush cello, accented by fluttering piano syncopations, the effect is magical.

The score proper is actually a little more spartan, a little more reserved, than one is used to hearing from Rombi. The “Générique Début” re-states the Ricky theme, but in a quite morose arrangement, and it doesn’t appear again until “Nuit Sur le Lac”, and even then it is in a deconstructed form. Many of the other cues, such as “Naissance”, “Les Premiers Jours” and “Premiers Signes” are actually quite gloomy, with very little thematic content, instead being filled with slightly troubling string phrases, skittery piano and harp chords and tinkling percussion effects, mirroring the uncertainty the parents have about Ricky and his ‘special issues’.

“Conséquences” and “Le Retour de Paco” even sees Rombi moving into rare action music territory with a vibrant piece that features much more forceful percussion and string writing than we are used to hearing from him. “Evolution” restates the Ricky theme in a magical arrangement for glockenspiel and piano, and everything comes to a lovely conclusion in “La Révélation” and “Générique Fin”, which reprise the main theme with beauty and grace. Rombi’s writing is so clear, so romantic, so elegant, and Ricky is no exception. It’s no wonder he is often referred to as the heir apparent of Georges Delerue. This 30-minute score was only released as a digital download on the Naïve France label, but is available on Amazon and via other major retailers. I highly recommend it.

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • Ricky Theme (3:49)
  • Pré Générique (0:46)
  • Générique Début (1:12)
  • Naissance (1:10)
  • Les Premiers Jours (1:25)
  • Premiers Signes (2:51)
  • Nuit Sur le Lac (1:31)
  • Julie et Ricky (1:19)
  • Evolution (1:16)
  • Conséquences (3:10)
  • L’Hôpital (1:04)
  • Seule (1:42)
  • Le Retour de Paco (1:24)
  • L’Envol (2:10)
  • La Révélation (2:05)
  • Générique Fin (3:49)

Running Time: 30 minutes 43 seconds

Naïve France Digital Download (2009)

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