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Fair Game
  • Composed by John Powell
  • Lakeshore Records LKS 341942 / 2010 / 40:11

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star in Fair Game, the latest film about Iraq – and the third so far to have been scored by John Powell, though this one is largely to do with political rather than military matters.  The public shows little appetite for films on this subject so far, but reviews for this (directed by Doug Liman) have been pretty strong.  Powell has scored most of Liman’s previous films, which have varied in quality from The Bourne Identity through to Jumper.  Powell’s scores have been pretty consistent (Bourne of course was a seminal moment in his career) and he clearly likes working with Liman – though there are certain signs in Fair Game that his style for this sort of movie is becoming a little tired.

This is a thriller, but obviously a very different one from the Bourne films and the like – and it calls for rather low-key, rather serious music.  There are a few moments of action, Powell’s music becoming very percussive and pretty impressive (though familiar) – but much of the score consists of very slow synth-dominated soundscapes, sometimes accompanied by electric guitar – it’s certainly atmospheric, it’s probably effective, but it’s not particularly entertaining.  There are exceptions – when the composer adds an ethnic tinge, the music suddenly becomes much more interesting, and the edgy “Breaking Point” is excellent.  The score certainly has its moments, but is frankly just a bit dull by this composer’s high standards – he pretty much seems to have two “sounds” (the animations and the thrillers) and while he’s brilliant at both when at his best, it would be nice to see him branch out into something slightly different.  **

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  1. Waren (Reply) on Wednesday 27 October, 2010 at 19:50

    I just saw a movie yesterday called Attack On Darfur, if your interested in action films that portray middle Eastern conflict, I’d definatley check this one out. It was moving, had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and brought me, a grown man, to tears. Its a great action film as well as something to get people involved in helping the people of Darfur.

  2. Mastadge (Reply) on Wednesday 27 October, 2010 at 21:59

    Hmm. Sudan is in north Africa, and not usually counted as part of the Middle East, despite its proximity. Also I’m wary of any film by Uwe Boll. Is it really that good?

  3. christopher (Reply) on Thursday 28 October, 2010 at 06:53

    With a filmography like Uwe Boll how can you doubt it? 😉