THE BOOK OF HENRY is a movie that is basically a bit chaotic and messy, the plot is somewhat unbelievable, or is it? This is a movie that deals with a child who is intelligent beyond his years who lives with his younger brother and Mother, in fact Henry is so organised and intelligent that he even organises the house finances whilst his Mother sits and plays video games, see unbelievable don’t you think, anyway, it is a film that attempts to encompass so many emotions and scenarios it very soon becomes a little bit of a mish mash and is filled with confusion for the watching audience, the plot thickens and darkens as a new neighbour arrives with his stepdaughter who befriends Henry and then we find out her stepfather who also just happens to be Police commissioner and has a brother who is head of child protection, is abusing her. Henry decides he must help her and enlists the help of his Mother, who is guided step by step by her super intelligent Son to confront the abuser and eventually murder him without getting caught. So are you following, no well sit up and wake it its quite simple, I think. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the Mother is guided by her Son to act as a hit person to wipe out this abuser. Ok, I think I will leave it there and go to the music for the movie which is the work of the ever industrious and in demand movie music Maestro Michael Giacchino. His score is like the movie something of a fusion of styles and sounds, that are both symphonic and synthetic, the latter not really standing out, but more like acting as a complimenting underscore to the conventional instrumentation. The difference between the mish mash movie itself and the score being that Mr Giacchino manages to control his music a lot better than the director did his plot or actors. It is a score that contains some beautifully poignant and emotive tone poems, but also has a shadier and more foreboding and sinister persona in the guise of slow burning, smouldering, pot boiler cues that are gradually building and rising the temperature all the time without reaching any sort of crescendo in most cases, as in the cue, THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS this fearful and driven side to the score is in a word menacing and at times becomes uneasy, which causes the listener feel somewhat uncomfortable and apprehensive. Dark and richly ominous sounding piano acts as a foundation to the almost virulent atmosphere, add to this tense tremolo strings and low basses that are enhanced by subdued percussive elements and at times a lone scratchy sounding violin that is totally. The composer utilises delicate piano and sorrowful cello with punctuations from harp and woodwind within the quieter interludes of the score.
I think that the most emotive and beautiful examples of the scores lighter attributes are demonstrated within the cues TARGET PRACTISE and PETER THE GREAT, these are lilting and haunting pieces for a small ensemble of strings, harp, piano and heartrending cello, which combine to create a wonderfully lyrical and mesmerising theme, that I know you will return to many times. Another cue that is simple but effective is CHRISTINAS DANCE, which is performed by piano and strings, with the composer purveying a more classical sound maybe in the style of the great romantic composers such as Rachmaninov, it is a gracious and affecting piece. I found the score a lot more appealing than the film it was intended to support and enhance, it is dramatic, fragile, unnerving, driving, poignant and strikingly beautiful and eerie in places. One to check out.