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THE ESCAPIST – Benjamin Wallfisch

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Escapist is a British drama/thriller directed by Rupert Wyatt and starring Brian Cox as Frank Perry, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without parole. When he learns that his estranged daughter has fallen ill, Frank determines to make peace with her before she dies; as such, he develops an ingenious escape plan, and recruits a dysfunctional band of fellow prisoners and misfits – Joseph Fiennes, Damian Lewis, Dominic Cooper, Steven Mackintosh – with the unique skills required to help him break out.

The score for The Escapist is by up-and-coming British composer Benjamin Wallfisch, who has earned acclaim for his solo work on scores such as Dear Wendy, as well as for his work conducting and orchestrating for Dario Marianelli on Pride & Prejudice, V for Vendetta, and the Oscar-winning Atonement. Written for a full orchestra with emphasis on low, sonorous strings, Wallfisch’s score is strong and muscular, with an unerring internal force. His main theme, heard in “Theme from The Escapist”, is a propulsive piece for driving strings, overlaid by a piano and cimbalom to give it a more melodic touch. It’s an excellent piece, indicative of the masculine, yet somehow shadowy world the film inhabits.

The theme re-occurs throughout the score with pleasing regularity, notably in “Lenny Recruited”, as an excellent accelerando in “Lacey is Free”, and in the “End Credits”. Cues such as “Diamond”, “Confessional”, “Elegy for Brodie”, “Frank’s Vision” and “Reunion” feature gloomy pianos, mournful cellos and lonely wordless vocals that embody Perry’s forlorn existence in the inside with a stark, bitter beauty. There are also few moments of quite chilling string-based dissonance and pretty-spooky tension, like the walls of sound in “Lacey Hunted”, “Tony Killed” and “Train”, or the unnerving music box theme in “Abandoned Station”.

Unfortunately, there are also a few cues of modern, grungy electronica such as “Underground Escape”, the Brad Fiedel-style “Sump Chase”, and others, which highlight Wallfisch’s talent of writing effective music in multiple styles, but tend to detract a little from the album listening experience as a whole. Overall, though, The Escapist marks another feather in the cap for Wallfisch who, through both his solo work and his regular collaborations with Dario Marianelli, continues to earmark himself as a composer with a bright future.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • Theme from The Escapist (1:36)
  • Diamond (0:46)
  • Confessional (2:08)
  • Underground Escape (2:15)
  • Viv’s Lab (0:56)
  • Lacey Hunted (1:16)
  • Lenny Recruited (0:53)
  • Into the Dryer (0:31)
  • Sump Chase (3:14)
  • The Trade (1:07)
  • Elegy for Brodie (1:01)
  • Tony Killed (1:21)
  • Abandoned Station (2:50)
  • Frank’s Vision (1:06)
  • Wonderment (1:17)
  • Train (0:40)
  • Lacey Is Free (2:35)
  • Escalator (3:14)
  • Reunion (1:19)
  • End Credits (1:01)

Running Time: 31 minutes 06 seconds

MovieScore Media MMS-09010 (2009)

  1. soundtrackbeat
    March 27, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    My view for Benjamin Wallfisch’s score for THE ESCAPIST:

    https://soundtrackbeat.com/2017/03/28/soundtrack-review-the-escapist-benjamin-wallfisch/

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