- Composed by Steve Jablonsky
- Warner Bros. / 2016 / 62m
I was in Florida at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and I remember the terrible situation that ensued, with devastation for so many people and a dire outcome for the natural world. Peter Berg’s new action film focuses on the oil platform itself, the people on it at the time and their attempts to stay alive, and the effect on their families. Continuing their collaboration from Battleship and Lone Survivor is composer Steve Jablonsky, whose music for turtles earlier in the year was surprisingly enjoyable. This score is less surprising, particularly to anyone who’s heard music from previous films by this director (Hancock aside). It opens with a chilled-out, uneventful piece “Taming the Dinosaurs” before “The Rig” introduces a sonar-like keyboard sound carrying little textures over ambient synths and percussion. Sadly, that’s almost as good as it gets (the guitar-based finale, “Home”, is actually very pleasant).
The noise begins in the next cue, “The Monster”. A synthetic HORN OF DOOM appears in these things as surely as night follows day, and there it is in all its lack of glory, the inane puerility surely the worst of modern film music’s dumbing down. What follows is textural, with frequent screeches, buzzes and whirrs, one effect that literally sounds like someone scraping their nails on a blackboard. That sonar sound is the main recurring idea (it wears rather thin). It’s bleak, murky, an incessant harbinger of bad things which may be exactly what Berg wanted and what the film warrants but it certainly doesn’t make for a good album. Indeed, it’s horribly unpleasant for the majority of its hour-long running time. You might think there’s nothing unusual about horribly unpleasant music in a film about an event as horribly unpleasant as the one depicted here, but I suspect there are ways of doing it in a more musically fulfilling may. (Unfortunately not in 2016 when there’s Hollywood money behind it.) Four years ago I wrote about Battleship that maybe there was “more musical value in a recording of a bowl of Rice Krispies”; I’m sad to say that there’s no doubt at all this time round.
Rating: No stars