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Adults in the Room
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Warner Classics / 49m

Greece’s Acropolis Now debt crisis moment, which at one point threatened to destroy the Euro currency, is the focus of Costa-Gavras’s Adults in the Room. It’s based on the book by Yannis Varoufakis, the leather jacket-wearing finance minister who became a bit of a sensation during and after his brief stint in office. (The story here worth telling is surely the suffering of ordinary Greek people who haven’t done anything wrong – but the film focuses instead on the negotiations between Greece and the EU over the terms of its debt repayments – which is perhaps not really the most interesting thing to most people.) Composer Alexandre Desplat has been a little quieter than usual in Hollywood over the last year or so but still very active on European films and his score is an intriguing balancing act between pretty comic satire and serious drama – a bit like a cross between The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Ghost Writer. His main theme – a sprightly bouzouki number which will inevitably bring Zorba the Greek to mind – is an absolute joy, prime Desplat, witty and memorable.

The bulk of the score builds on fragments of that theme – while it’s often a lot more serious than the opening arrangement, there’s usually either a hint or a large dollop of Greek flavour in there, and every now and then a piece like “Greek President” comes along and you want to smash all your plates. Desplat’s such a skilful musical dramatist: that he manages to steer this from such frivolity to the dark, real drama of “Airports” within a few minutes and without breaking stride is testament to that. Then there’s the absolute darkness of the low strings of “Bargain” which contrasts so vividly with the strains of Greek light trying to seep up through it. This is a smart, sassy film score and a very enjoyable and impressive album – great to hear the composer at his creative best, injecting some levity into such a heavyweight subject.

Rating: ****

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