Posts Tagged ‘Alexandre Desplat’

FANTASTIC MR. FOX – Alexandre Desplat

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I grew up reading and loving Roald Dahl’s stories; everything from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches and The Twits to The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda, his words (as well as Quentin Blake’s incomparable illustrations) were an indelible part of my childhood, and remain beloved to this day. Strangely, the one Roald Dahl story I don’t think I ever read was Fantastic Mr. Fox, written by Dahl in 1970 and which has now been turned into an animated feature film by directed Wes Anderson with a voice cast that includes such luminaries as George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, and Jarvis Cocker from the English rock band Pulp. The story – as is always the case with Dahl’s work – is a dark morality tale dressed up as an innocent children’s story. The plot concerns Mr. and Mrs. Fox, a pair of wily and cunning animals who feed their family by stealing chickens, ducks and cider from under the noses of three despicable farmers named Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Read more…

COCO AVANT CHANEL – Alexandre Desplat

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the world of French high fashion and haute couture, no name commanded, and continues to command, as much respect and admiration as that of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The film Coco Avant Chanel, directed by Anne Fontaine and starring Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde and Alessandro Nivola, charts the formative years of Chanel before she became a household name, from her early life in the poorhouses and orphanages of rural France, to her first faltering efforts at establishing a clothing business in Brittany, and her love affairs with playboys Étienne Balsan and Boy Capel, until her eventual success in pre-war Paris, out of which would grow into one of the premier fashion houses in the world. Read more…

JULIE & JULIA – Alexandre Desplat

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There aren’t many mainstream movies about cooking. There are even less movies about the lives celebrity chefs and bloggers who are inspired by them – but that basically sums up the plot of Julie & Julia, the latest comedy/drama from director Nora Ephron. The film tells two parallel stories: firstly that of the life of chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep), who became America’s first celebrity chef in the 1950s when she wrote her groundbreaking French cookbook ’Mastering the Art of French Cooking’; and that of Julie Powell (Amy Adams), whose quest to cook all 524 recipe’s in Child’s cookbook, and her blog about her experiences, made her famous within the modern New York foodie crowd. It’s a quirky little film, but a critically acclaimed one nonetheless, with Streep’s performance as Child receiving notable praise. Read more…

CHÉRI – Alexandre Desplat

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A romantic period comedy-drama based on a novel by the popular French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette and directed by Stephen Frears, Chéri is the story of an unusual romance between Léa de Lonval, an ageing courtesan in 1900s Paris, and Frederic Peloux – nicknamed ‘Chéri’ – the 19 year old son of Léa’s friend Charlotte Peloux. Despite the differences between them in age and class status, Léa teaches the eager Chéri about life, love, and sex, shattering stereotypes and upsetting the inflexible social order of the period. The film stars the luminous Michelle Pfeiffer as Léa – still as gorgeous as ever at the age of 51 – Rupert Friend as Chéri, and Kathy Bates, Felicity Jones and Frances Tomelty in supporting roles. The film also has an original score by Alexandre Desplat, whose work and stylistics would seem to fit this genre above any other. Read more…

AFTERWARDS (ET APRÈS) – Alexandre Desplat

January 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Afterwards is a metaphysical romantic drama directed by Gilles Bourdos and starring Romain Duris as Nathan, a brilliant New York lawyer whose personal life has become a mess since his divorce from Claire (Evangeline Lilly), his only love. However, when everything changes when Nathan meets Kay (John Malkovich), a mysterious doctor who introduces himself as a “Messenger” and tells Nathan that he is able to sense when certain people are about to die.

This mysterious, moody film has a score by Alexandre Desplat, returning to work with director Bourdos for the first time since the pair collaborated on the score for Inquiétudes in 2003. Read more…


December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A film by David Fincher based on the 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the tale of a man who is born old, and gets younger as his life progresses. Set in Louisiana in the late 1800s, it stars Brad Pitt as the titular Button, who is born with the physical appearance of an 80 year old man, much to the shock and embarrassment of his parents. As the years pass, Button gets younger and younger, fighting in wars, attending college, and falling in love – but backwards, and with the knowledge that, the longer time passes, the closer he is to losing everything and everyone around him. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Tilda Swinton, and is tipped to be a major player at the 2009 Academy Awards. Read more…

LARGO WINCH – Alexandre Desplat

December 19, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Largo Winch is a French action/thriller directed by Jérôme Salle, based on the popular Belgian comic book character created by Philippe Francq and Jean Van Hamme. It stars Tomer Sisley as the eponymous character, the estranged son of Nerio Winch, the incredibly wealthy international corporation, who is plucked from an Amazonian prison where he had been falsely accused of drug trafficking after Nerio is murdered. With the vast resources of his father’s company now at his disposal, Largo suddenly finds himself facing danger at every turn, as he tries to unravel the mysteries of his father’s death and his own imprisonment, and unmask those who want to take it the company, by any means possible. Read more…

THE GOLDEN COMPASS – Alexandre Desplat

December 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most successful, popular and well-respected children’s fantasy books in history, Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials is a breathtaking, intelligent examination of religion, science and philosophy presented as a fantasy adventure tale, which features a young girl as its protagonist. New Line Cinema’s big-screen version of the first novel, The Golden Compass, is an ambitious attempt to condense Pullman’s expansive vision into box-office gold, and if all goes well will be the first installment of a three-film series. Newcomer Dakota Blue Richards stars as Lyra Belacqua, a young girl in an alternate-reality England, whose best friend Roger is kidnapped by The Magisterium, a mysterious organization allied to the Church, led by the icily evil Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman). Teaming up with a group of ragtag stragglers known as the Gyptians, and Iorek Byrnison (Ian McKellen), the deposed king of the Panserbjørne (a race of intelligent armored polar bears), Lyra journeys to the frozen north of the Arctic to save her friend – but encounters a greater adventure than she could have ever imagined. The film has a stellar cast, including Daniel Craig as Lyra’s adventurer uncle Lord Asriel, Jim Carter and Tom Courtney as the leaders of the Gyptians, Eva Green as the witch queen Serafina Pekkala, and Sam Elliott as the heroic hot air balloon pilot Lee Scoresby, as well as Ian McShane, Kathy Bates, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Christopher Lee and Derek Jacobi in smaller roles. Read more…

MR. MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM – Alexandre Desplat and Aaron Zigman

November 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most gratifying things in any industry is to have the respect of your peers; for Aaron Zigman, working on Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium must be one of the most gratifying projects of his career to date. French composer Alexandre Desplat was the composer first hired to work on this film (he was brought in very early in the project to compose some brief thematic material to be performed on-screen). However, when his scoring duties on Lust Caution and The Golden Compass clashed with post-production on this film, Desplat found himself unable to finish the task – so he specifically requested that Aaron Zigman be brought in to work with his themes, and flesh them out into a final score. The finished product is truly magical – a perfect amalgam of the two composer’s styles, which stands as one of the most enjoyable and excellent fantasy scores of 2007. Read more…

L’ENNEMI INTIME – Alexandre Desplat

October 5, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most admirable things about Alexandre Desplat is the fact that, despite his new status as one of Hollywood’s golden composers, he still regularly works on French domestic pictures back home. One of these is L’Ennemi Intime, a bold and controversial political drama/war movie directed by regular Desplat collaborator Florent Emilio Siri. The film, which has been a convention-challenging commercial success in France, stars Benoît Magimel, Albert Dupontel and Aurélien Recoing, and follows the fortunes of a platoon of French soldiers on maneuvers in North Africa during the Algerian war of independence in the late 1950s, and is one of the few French films to examine the war in Algeria with a dispassionate realism and with no ulterior agenda. Read more…

LUST CAUTION – Alexandre Desplat

September 28, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Lust Caution, the latest film from director Ang Lee. The winner of the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, the film tells the story of the dangerous, passionate relationship between a young woman named Wang Jiazhi (played by Wei Tang), and a shadowy political named Mr. Yee (Tony Leung), who may or may not be involved in espionage for the Chinese government in 1940s Shanghai. The controversy of the film lies not in its politics, but in its raw and realistic depiction of the sexual relationship between Wang and Yee – the MPAA slapped an NC-17 rating on the film following rumors that their lovemaking scenes were NOT simulated. Never afraid to shy away from difficult subject matters – as Brokeback Mountain attested – Ang Lee seems to be molding himself into a modern day version of Nagisa Oshima, whose equally controversial film In the Realm of the Senses polarized cinema-goers in 1976. Read more…

THE PAINTED VEIL – Alexandre Desplat

December 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The winner of the Golden Globe for Best Score of 2006, The Painted Veil caps off a truly remarkable year for 45 year old French composer Alexandre Desplat. His other two major 2006 scores – Firewall and The Queen – were both met with general critical acclaim, and further cemented his position as one of the most exciting composers to emerge in Hollywood in recent years. It’s easy to forget that just three years ago he was a virtual unknown outside of his native country, and that his international stature has been built up over the course of just four or five scores. Read more…

THE QUEEN – Alexandre Desplat

September 29, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, was something of a turning point in the modern history of the United Kingdom. Up until that time, the British royal family were generally looked upon with fondness. Sure, they had their moments of scandal, Prince Phillip continually said stupid things to people on foreign tours, and there was a section of society which called for them to be abolished and the country turned into a republic. But, beyond this, the House of Windsor was seen as a mighty figurehead, as people who represented the best interests of Britain at home and abroad, as a family to be looked up to and admired. However, the reaction of the Royal Family to the death of Diana caused unprecedented resentment and outcry. The Royal Family’s rigid adherence to protocol was interpreted by the public as a lack of compassion, and all of a sudden the tide turned against them. Now, the Royal Family was cold and insular, out of touch with the thoughts and feelings of the nation they ruled, and totally irrelevant to modern British life. Queen Elizabeth II in particular came in for special criticism, initially for her refusal to allow the Royal Standard on top of Buckingham Palace to fly at half mast, and later for her seemingly forced and insincere broadcast to the nation several days later. Read more…

FIREWALL – Alexandre Desplat

February 10, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s funny how, all of a sudden, a composer comes out of nowhere and becomes one of your favourites. French composer Alexandre Desplat first appeared on the international scene in 2000 with his elegant score for the chess-themed romantic drama The Luzhin Defence; since then, through scores such as Girl With a Pearl Earring, Birth, Hostage, The Upside of Anger and Syriana, he has risen to become arguably the most exciting Gallic composer since Georges Delerue, with the capacity to write both thrilling action music and sensitive orchestral material with equal skill. Two Golden Globe nominations and a recent César Award for ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’ would seem to reinforce his place in the bigger scheme of things. His score for Firewall will hopefully be just as well received, and cement his position as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Read more…

HOSTAGE – Alexandre Desplat

March 11, 2005 Leave a comment

hostageOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

March 11th 2005 was unofficially “Alexandre Desplat Day” in US cinemas, when his first two major Hollywood studio films – Hostage and The Upside of Anger – opened in theatres across the country. The 44-year-old Parisian has crept up on the world of film music; having worked solidly in Europe since the early 1990s, people first sat up and took notice following his Golden Globe nomination for Girl With a Pearl Earring in 2003, a success which he capitalized on with the controversial but critically acclaimed Birth in 2004. With the exception of Gabriel Yared, there hasn’t been a French composer in the Hollywood mainstream since Maurice Jarre retired, and before that since the death of Georges Delerue. Desplat more than has the talent to fill their considerable shoes. And, with Hostage, he also shows a great deal of range. Read more…