I was not intending to write a review of this soundtrack, but after trying to listen to it a few times I decided that maybe it should be written. DUNKIRK the movie is quite brilliant, director Nolan I think has got it right and the way in which he approaches the subject matter and shoots the actual story is impeccable and affecting. The score however is yet again another disappointment, Hans Zimmer once again has created a soundscape rather than a musical score, because musical it cannot be called or labelled. The composer utilises musical and unmusical sounds at times to create his soundtrack, but although at times the sounds are effective within the context of the film I found it a distraction rather than supporting the proceedings. Zimmer is without a doubt a talented man, and I get so frustrated about the way in which many film music collectors put him on a pedestal as if everything the man has done is filled with brilliance, yes there have been a few scores that have hit the mark both in the films and away from them BACKDRAFT for example, GLADIATOR another such example. The soundtrack for DUNKIRK was another case of a missed opportunity in my opinion and yes before you all shout it I do realise film scoring has changed since the days of 633 SQUADRON, WHERE EAGLES DARE and BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI, but would it have hurt to include a few bars that bared some resemblance to a march or an inspiring or patriotic sounding theme. As I say within the context of the movie Zimmer’s efforts work to a degree. they build the tension and also create the stressed atmosphere and the feeling of hopelessness but. this is not music. One of the longest cues on the soundtrack is SUPERMARINE which I have to admit I dislike with a vengeance, it is grating and perplexing, repeat, repeat ,ad nauseum. I get the use of the ticking clock, but that’s a sound that has been utilised many times in film scores by the likes of Morricone, Zimmer’s sounds on this film are for me a nightmare and also an experience that I will not repeat ever I do not think. Make up your own mind.as this review like all others is a personal opinion, but film music this is not, it’s more like one of those odd dance tracks that everyone raves about says how great it is, but never actually dances to it because it’s just too weird and so they never buy it and rave on about it because they think it’s COOL to do so. Zimmer as always was not alone in this venture, two other composers are credited Lorne Balfe and Benjamin Wallfisch, but I cannot hear anything different or original within their cues that sets them apart from the rest of this soundtrack, it just grates on and on, never really getting anywhere, apart from the end two tracks in which Edward Elgar is also credited, and in which we can just about pick out his Nimrod composition. which is heavily masked by the electronics of Zimmer and Balfe, sorry don’t like it, and if Christopher Nolan is to direct a Bond movie, please, please, please no Hans Zimmer. If that ever happens I will start collecting blown light bulbs.
Composer Baptiste Allard is a new name for me, although I notice he has worked on a few movies, which include a score for a version of PAPILLON earlier this year for Italian television. His latest score is NOI ERAVAMO, and I must say it totally beguiled and enthralled me, it is a beautifully crafted score and one that is overflowing with delicate and fragile sounding tone poems which ooze emotion and are brimming with poignancy. I was surprised to learn that the score is made up of samples so no real instruments performing as it were, well I find this very hard to believe because the work is just so alluringly beautiful and possesses real heart and soul, the music is romantic, dramatic and haunting. The composer’s themes and musical passages infiltrate your mind and work away at your inner emotions at times leaving one a little exhausted but in a nice way. There is a light and subtle style present within the score that is laced with an air of the mysterious and maybe the magical. It is a work that I am confident will become a favourite amongst collectors and one that will be returned to many times once heard. There is just a sound to it that makes it attractive and comforting, piano and harp are utilised with strings also being a large part of the equation. I can’t really say this is a massive orchestral score because I know it is not, but the composer has fashioned a soundtrack that is so tender and so filled with emotive nuances and motifs that one would be hard pressed to say it was not played by an orchestra, he builds the work gradually and tenderly with woodwind playing its part alongside and underlining strings and brass sounds with percussive elements being added for the more dramatic and urgent sounding pieces within the score.
The title cue NOI ERAVAMO is actually track number 7 in the running order and is one of the longest cues on the soundtrack coming in at just over seven minutes, this I think is what one might call a slow burning fuse of a theme as the composer builds the cue layering strings over woods and adding percussion even thought this is subdued, brass flourishes are also entered into the proceedings to give it a more pronounced dramatic feel, but all the time we hear the strings which are underlining supporting and enhancing everything that is going on, the style employed is like a fusion of Thomas Newman and Ennio Morricone, so it is subdued but at the same time has to it a strong thematic presence that one cannot ignore.
Piano does feature predominantly in cues such as LUCIANO and LUCIANO and GUGLIELMO and returns in many the cues adding wisps of melancholy and at times infusing an atmosphere that is sombre and solitary. The composer also includes a fusion of horns and strings that are underlined and punctuated by percussion in cues such as PLANES, PLANES FACTORY, SOLDIERS DEATH, and VOLANTARI which is the final cue on the release. No stand out cues as all are very good indeed. I only hope that one day very soon this composer gets a film with a large music budget, then the end results I am sure will be powerful and beautiful. But for now, check this out, you will not be disappointed.
Movie music International has always been a blog/site that brings you a varied collection of articles and reviews all of which are related to movie scores or soundtracks. I personally feel that the emergence of the SONG score slightly damaged film music during the late 1970, s and through to the 1990, Of course there have been a few exceptions where the songs were written specifically for a scene or sequence within a movie, but movies that just more or less tacked various songs onto its soundtrack without a lot of thought I cringed at. However, this month with the release of the movie BABY DRIVER I heard good things about the soundtrack and the involvement of the director of the film Edgar Wright into the musical side of things, ok this is not an original score and is basically just a collection of songs, some familiar, others obscure. But the way in which the director built his story around the songs he had selected is somewhat clever and even ingenious, apparently, he took the songs from his Spotify/iTunes account and put them into timing order to see what song would fit a sequence he was planning to commit to celluloid, so the songs fit the scene like a glove and give much support to each sequence. Like I said the songs range from standards and favourites such as, THE HARLEM SHUFFLE by Bob and Earl, Egyptian Reggae by Johnathan Livingstone, Un-square Dance by Dave Brubeck, Debora by T.Rex, Radar Love by Golden Earring and Never Gonna Give You Up by the ever-popular velvety voiced Barry White. Then we get the slightly more obscure (well to me anyway) such as EARLY IN THE MORNING by Alexis Korner’s blues incorporated and THE EDGE by David McCullum (yes that David McCullum) which incidentally could easily be mistaken for a neo jazz track from a Piero Piccioni Italian western/erotic score. Incidentally, please check out his albums on Spotify, you will be glad you did. But also in there we are treated to TEQUILA, NOWHERE TO RUN, BRIGHTON ROCK, BONGOLIA and the title cue BABY DRIVER courtesy of Simon and Garfunkel and includes tracks by BLUR, BRENDA HOLLOWAY, FOCUS, THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION and BECK etc. So, what I am saying is the soundtrack to BABY DRIVER although not film music in the true sense or as we see it as collectors of original scores, is in fact an entertaining listen, its easy on the ear and evokes many memories of a lost youth (maybe at times misbegotten) and opens the doors to tracks that maybe one has not experienced before. A nice collection of songs, that just happens to be on the soundtrack to a movie.
Composer PhilipPe Rombi is one of my own favourites ever since I heard his score for THE SWIMMING POOL I was hooked as they say. His latest score is somewhat different from the Rombi we have all come to be used to. L’AMANT DOUBLE, is a thriller with a few twists, it deals with a woman who falls in love with her psychoanalyst, and after thinking she knows him moves in with him, but things are not as she expects and she begins to uncover a side of his identity that she does not know about. The score is very dark, very atonal for Rombi, it also has a fair number of electronic instrumentation, and for me it is more like sound design as opposed to being a music score, by this I mean there are very few themes or thematic properties, this is a jumpy and unpredictable work, which serves the movie but unfortunately will probably not be one that graces the CD player that often, some of the cues being frantic and somewhat grating. I suppose it’s back to the well it is movie music so if it serves the movie it is good, and its doing what it is supposed to. Rombi does keep up the pressure with this score, it is a highly atonal work, with maybe the exception of two actual themes, which appear at the end of the recording, MATERNITE and LA JUMELLE can be described as melodious, in fact I would probably not call them that even as they start off pleasant enough but then really do not progress develop or go anywhere. This work, although serving the movie will I guess be a disappointment to Rombi fans who are used to haunting and delicious sounding tone poems that are draped in romanticism and drenched in melancholy, as in his score from only last year, FRANTZ. If you want that then please don’t even go here.
As you are probably aware I at times do say that modern film music is nowhere near as good or as thematic as material that I grew up with written by Goldsmith, Bernstein etc, the recent glut of superhero films have been disappointing both as movies and in the musical score or sound design department, let’s face it and say it, Zimmer’s Superman scores were pretty uninspiring and recent contributions from other composers seem to have fallen flat and become instantly forgettable, in fact they were forgettable as soon as they began to play in most cases. So, with WONDER WOMAN I thought yes, a glimmer of light in the musical expertise of Rupert Gregson Williams, I liked his work on TARZAN and THE CROWN too showed some little glints of light musically speaking, but sadly alas NO, WONDER WOMAN the music is not worthy of the film it is intended to enhance. Harsh I hear you say, well that’s how I hear it anyways. The movie itself I think is probably the best superhero movie to hit the screens since, ummm let me think? Oh well anyway its very good. I was disappointed in the fact that the composer really did not infuse any real originality into the score, this could be a soundtrack penned by any number of Hollywood film music composers and it just oozes with the influences of Zimmer, with its brooding strings its gradually building themes if you can call them that and its lumbering percussive elements. It is in my opinion a score that never really develops, it is always bubbling under if you see what I mean, the composer does on occasion let fly with something that approaches action or superhero stuff, but again where are the themes where are the central and core musical moments and the real foundations of the score on which great or super themes can be built, I worry about the future of film music, it seems to be stuck in the doldrums and just very occasional we get a treat, WONDER WOMAN is a very entertaining movie, well made and well-acted but the music certainly is not WONDER-FULL. I think Hollywood, has to get away from using certain composers for certain types of movies, maybe even not think HANS ZIMMER straight away, after all there are far more competent and original composers out there, maybe even think outside the box and get someone in that is fresh and new, just a thought. This movie is good, with a more substantial and vibrant score it could have been great.
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