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.