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12 Strong
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • WaterTower / 71m

To suggest that Hans Zimmer is the most influential film composer of his generation is probably as uncontroversial as it gets; in recent years, particular influence seems to have been exerted by his scores for Christopher Nolan films.  The approach to the Batman trilogy had a large impact on scores for comic book films; Inception‘s HORN OF DOOM has made people laugh in action film after action film; and I’m sure filmmakers will be falling over themselves to get composers to remove every ounce of emotion possible in the style of Dunkirk in coming years.  Lorne Balfe has managed to write a score for 12 Strong – a film about the early CIA and Green Beret mission in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 – which draws from all of them.  If “spot the temp-track” is your game, prepare for an easy challenge.  (Not just the Nolan films actually, there’s also the ubiquitous “Journey to the Line” from The Thin Red Line – in curiously cold, detached arrangements which seem to misunderstand the whole point of that piece.)

There’s the HORN OF DOOM, of course – slightly less expected is “Why So Serious?” – and they’re filtered through Dunkirk‘s filter to remove emotion and feeling.  There’s lots of banging of drums, some mechanistic electronics, just occasionally a fragment of melody (the title track, over half an hour in, has a little something to offer); but there isn’t heroism, or tragedy, or excitement, or drama.  If that was the intention then fair enough, but if it was then it’s a strange intention for a film score to have, even in an age in which Junkie XL can make a living as a film composer.  Sit through 71 minutes of this and frankly you deserve a medal.

Rating: No stars

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  1. , Andre>>Cape Town (Reply) on Saturday 20 January, 2018 at 23:36

    Something to look forward to is TADLOW`S rerecording of MIKLOS ROZSA`S magnificent symphonic/choral score for ‘King Of Kings’—-some beautiful emotive themes for Mary and Joseph—-triumphant orchestral exuberances as the Divine Power, within Jesus, performs miracles and some interesting twelve tonalities during the Lucerferic temptation of the Messiah. (I`ve just read news of this rerecording on the Film Score Monthly`s site….I hope it`s not fake data!).

  2. Justin (Reply) on Thursday 25 January, 2018 at 01:18

    Another good reason for a star-rating system: I can search for the term “NO STARS” to give myself a laugh.

  3. AdoKrycha007 (Reply) on Saturday 27 January, 2018 at 07:38

    No more Remote Control shit composers !

  4. Ian Simpson (Reply) on Wednesday 31 January, 2018 at 02:18

    I recently did that myself- looking up all of the “No stars” reviews on this site for a laugh! I do prefer the use of star ratings despite their flaws.

  5. Andrews Martine (Reply) on Saturday 17 February, 2018 at 02:27

    What a ridiculous review.I expect you did not even watch the film.

    • Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Saturday 17 February, 2018 at 14:35

      He doesn’t have to.

      • Thomas Edwards (Reply) on Monday 19 February, 2018 at 06:29

        Well he should ! The review comes off as the usual boring RCP bashing statement.A few more interesting adjectives also would be appreciated .

    • Anthony Aguilar (Reply) on Monday 19 February, 2018 at 06:02

      Sometimes a viewing of the film is not required in order to assess the quality of the music itself. I guess I do not deserve a medal, as I could not make it through the entire album, having quite after only a few tracks.