Directed by Tom Shadyac, BRIAN BANKS is a movie that tells the true story of, an American football line-backer who was falsely accused of rape. The movie stars Aldis Hodge in the title role. With the help of a lawyer from the California Innocence Project Banks was cleared of all the charges that were stacked up against him and eventually returned to playing NFL football and finally joining the Atlanta Falcons. This is a compelling and gritty drama which is superbly directed and also given credence and authenticity via performances from Hodge and his co-star Greg Kinnear in the role of his defence lawyer Justin Brooks. There are also additional convincing portrayals from, Melanie Liburd as Karina, Xosha Roquemore as Kennisha Rice, Tiffany Dupont as Alissa Bierhoel and Sherri Shepherd as Leomia. The musical score composed by John Debney adds wonderful atmospherics to the story being acted out on screen and although Debney’s music is sometimes subtle and minimalistic the composer still adds much to the overall impact of the film’s storyline. It is a score that I would not say is theme laden, but this is no way a slight on the excellent compositions by Debney and the way in which he masterfully punctuates and underlines the movie perfectly.
When I say its not theme laden, I do not mean that is theme-less. On the contrary, the opening cue FREEDOM is a heartrending piece in which the composer utilises a haunting yet stirring wordless female vocal. This theme re-surfaces at certain points within the score and it does have a certain Morricone quality to it, it also brings the score to an almost triumphant end in the cue, PEOPLE CONCEDE THE MATTER, in which the composer treats us to the vocal performance and embellishes this with tantalising and charming nuances, making the track totally absorbing and The score although at times subtle is also brooding and powerful, the composer’s minimal approach apart from a handful of cues that is, not only benefiting the movie but also being an enjoyable and entertaining listen on its own. Within the movie its like Debney’s score is another character or another actor on screen, as it accompanies and ingratiates each performance and every scenario. It is a master class in how music can support a movie a lesson in how to score a movie and elevate and underline without being over the top and overpowering. Recommended.
THE RED LANTERNS is a 1963 drama that was produced in Greece, directed by Vassili Georgiades and starring, Jenny Karezi, George Foondas and Dimitri Papamichael. It tells the story of five girls who make a good living in a brothel, until that is the Greek authorities decide to make prostitution illegal. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for best international film and was considered an outspoken and bold movie at the time of its release. With the central characters giving realistic portrayals of young girls affected by the change of the law in their country. The movie is a soulful and at times heartrending production and one that is well worth seeking out on DVD to sample. The musical score by composer Stavros Xarchakos has to it a sound, style that could very easily be mistaken for the work of Mikis Theodorakis or Manos Hajidakis.
Even the songs have an aura and charm to them that shouts Theodorakis/Hajidakis. It has a beautiful central theme that also acts as its main title music which opens the album, lilting and melancholy sounding strings support a fragile and romantic piano solo (think ALIKI). Also being a Greek score there are bouzoukis’ present within the opening music but these are background rather than main stage, with the strings and piano establishing the theme until midway through a bouzouki solo is introduced but this too is subdued and melodic and in many ways reminded me of Theodorakis in-particular TO YALSTO PEDI from Z. The second track IN LUNA PARK is a little more up tempo with the composer employing, woodwinds, vibes, bouzouki and trumpet solo that is enhanced by strings and horn. Track number three, FALLING is an entertaining song which sounds traditional Greek, the composer’s arrangement being vibrant and certainly filled with a melodious air. Track four, TAXIMI is a little more tense, again bouzouki is utilised but is bolstered and punctuated by a mournful sounding violin solo, giving the piece a tuneful but at the same tome a slightly edgy and apprehensive sound. The remainder of the score is filled to overflowing with vibrant and robust themes and scattered throughout there are songs which indeed are entertaining even if you do not speak Greek, This is a wonderfully wistful and charm filled work that will not be out of place in any film music collection, my advice go buy it today. Available on Spotify and I Tunes, with the compact disc available now from Disques Cinemusique.