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De Rouille et d’Os
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Why Not Productions / 2012 / 89:22 (score 43:00)

Based on Craig Davidson’s short story Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard’s De Rouille et d’Os received positive attention at Cannes in 2012.  The love story stars Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, both of whom have attracted much acclaim for their performances.  Audiard’s usual composer Alexandre Desplat wrote the score.  His music for this director tends to be pretty sparse, pretty minimal in nature, and De Rouille et d’Os certainly follows suit.  It’s so sparse that it can take a little getting used to, but it’s more than worth the effort – the composition might be quite straightforward on a technical level, but as is often the case with Desplat, the web of emotion buried within it is extraordinarily complex, rewarding – in many ways demanding – repeated listening.

There’s a large collection of themes on offer.  Bookending the score (43 minutes of which appear on the download album, slightly less on the physical album) is a noble French horn piece, the most direct of Desplat’s themes for the film.  The electric guitar theme (heard for instance in “Stéphanie”) is much more ambiguous – there’s an emptiness suggested by the repetition of the short guitar phrase, coldness from the processed strings, yet somehow the piece seems to contain an essence of life, there’s hope in there.  There’s great sadness – also beauty – in “L’Orque”.  The mesh of strings – plucked as well as bowed – in “Sam” is again suggestive of internal conflict, again so inherently interesting.  The accordion in “Le Combattant” brings warmth, optimism.  Warmest of all is the straightforward piano theme “Stéphanie et Sam”, its very simplicity making it all the more effective after the complexity of what has gone before.  De Rouille et d’Os is an enriching, notably rewarding piece of music; those favouring instant gratification should stay away, those willing to put the effort in to explore the music should certainly seek it out.  **** |

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  1. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Thursday 31 May, 2012 at 08:15

    Having absolutely hated this score, my initial reaction to this review was one of outrage (“He thinks this is better than How to Train Your Dragon???” being my first, rather predictable thought). However, I’ve thought it over and I realize that I actually somewhat envy you for being able to get so much out of this sort of music. Personally, I found it lifeless, emotionless and sparse to the point of being absolutely laughable, and probably my least favorite score of the year so far (yes, even below Battleship). In fact, I found it difficult to believe that Desplat even wrote it at times, as it’s absent his precise orchestrational touch for most of the time (then again, it’s also absent an orchestra most of the time, so maybe that’s it).

    I guess I’m more one of those “instant gratification” types. My loss, I suppose…I suppose I’d take a generic fantasy or action or adventure score any day over this sort of minimalist thing where I’m being asked to read so much between the lines.

  2. David (Reply) on Saturday 9 February, 2013 at 17:01

    Edmund Meinerts: Maybe if you we’re much more open minded you could try to think outside of the box. You’re nobody to say that it’s lifeless, when actually the score was praised in the places where the movie was showed, and the fact that you prefer Battleship shows how bad taste do you have.

    By the way, Desplat uses an harmonium, not an accordeon.

  3. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 10 February, 2013 at 21:27

    Well slap me over the head with an oversized haddock for having an opinion, David. It is David from Filmtracks, right? Not the first time you’ve been an asshole like this. I can say a score is lifeless if it comes across as lifeless to me. I don’t give a crap that the score was praised by whoever-the-damn. I didn’t like it AND I AM ALLOWED NOT TO LIKE IT.

    Kindly do as Erik Woods has told you to several times and either grow some respect, or shove off.

  4. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 10 February, 2013 at 21:28

    You’re telling me to be more open minded after lambasting me for having an opinion counter to that of “those who were shown the movie”? Fuck you.

  5. ZheParadox (Reply) on Saturday 31 May, 2014 at 23:34

    ehm OhK…
    i’m a little late for that heated whatever this is 😀

    i have to check out that score 😉
    always appreciate your opinion Edmund and yours as well James!!

    as for David… you’re the one who should be more open-minded

    it’s available for 5,99€ over at qobuz right now 🙂