Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher

When I listened to FEMME FATALES and THE WAY OF THE GUN for the first time I was reminded so much of the style of the late Jerry Goldsmith; there were little nuances and a style of composing and orchestration present in both scores which reminded of some of his work from the late 1970s but the music had a more contemporary twist that evoked memories of Goldsmith’s later triumphs such as LA CONFIDENTIAL and BASIC INSTINCT. Like Goldsmith, Kreamer has the ability to create music having a core theme which is not melodic but is just as powerful and still sounds great and works wonderfully. From the offset, Joe Kraemer’s exciting and superb soundtrack to JACK REACHER had exactly the same effect and evoked that same feeling within me. The composer has created a score filled with strong action-driven thematic material overflowing with dramatic and exciting passages underlining the action which enhance the tension within the movie.

The music is not overpowering yet is highly effective and remains entertaining away from the screen images it was intended to augment. The score contains its fair share of high octane, pulsating and blood pumping cues, which race along at break neck speed creating an urgent and anxious atmosphere which has the listener on the edge of their seat. Then we have the more downbeat brooding and menacing musical interludes lingering in the background adding depth and atmospheric weight, becoming an important and integral component – creating an uneasy ambiance. The orchestration of the score is striking and works so well. Tense strings are embellished by driving percussion, punctuated by sharp, jagged brass and restrained but equally as urgent woods. These elements add depth, substance and a sense of menace but at other points within the work the brass acts as a more wholesome and melancholy grounding to the soundtrack, creating a firm foundation on which the remainder of the score can be constructed and added to. The CD opens with the “Main Title” which begins with faraway melancholy horns, underlined by soothing strings which augment and enhance the brass beautifully. The mood of the cue alters fairly swiftly as strings take on a more urgent sound by gently building, with brass and percussion being added as the tempo increase. The brass then overpowers slightly and briefly the string section and the cue then fades back into a more settled and calm state but brass is still heard faintly, enhanced by strings which again gradually build to a brief but effective crescendo bringing the cue to its conclusion.

“Who is Jack Reacher” is a brooding piece; again strings and brass combine to create an atmospheric and effective composition with subdued percussion adding more power to the track. The cue moves into a more sinister sounding mode towards the end of the cue where strings seem to be almost hissing in creating an air of unease. “Barr and Helen” is one of my favourite cues from the score. It is a tense piece building slowly with swirling strings that can be likened to something that Herrmann might have employed to create tension and mystery within a score. This ambience increases as the strings turn more sinister and are pitched higher to create a searing sound rising swiftly within the composition but fading almost as soon as it has manifested itself. These give way to a more downbeat and unruffled atmosphere which is relayed by further use of strings. These create a calming effect which bring the cue to its end. I enjoyed this soundtrack immensely. Recommended…

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