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  • Composed by John Powell
  • Varese Sarabande 302 067 011 2 / 2010 / 52:48

One of the better-received films about the Iraq conflict, Green Zone reunites Matt Damon with Bourne director Paul Greengrass.  Damon’s character sets about finding Iraq’s WMDs – if you remember, their presence was the reason the war started in the first place – but of course he fails, since they never had any.  Powell’s uncompromising score is thrilling from the start.  There are no real themes here – the score’s strength certainly isn’t in melody.  What the composer has done is assembled a score based largely around percussion.  There’s an orchestra here, but the dominant force from start to finish is an extraordinary array of both real and sampled percussion – and it produces unstoppable energy, a marked sense of motion and of adventure; and it’s very, very impressive.

This is dark music – there isn’t a single moment of light to punctuate it.  It is frenzied and full of adrenaline from the start, but all comes to a head in the remarkable action track “Attack and Chase”, as exciting a piece of action music as I’ve heard in a long time.  It’s even got a few Bourne-style strings thrown in for good measure.  Green Zone is most assuredly not a score which will satisfy everyone – as I said, there are no real themes here, this is not music constructed around melody.  But it’s so exciting, exhilirating proof of what a good film composer can do to write a genuinely modern film score which manages to be dramatically vibrant and musically satisfying.  This is 2010’s finest score so far.  ****

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  1. Mastadge (Reply) on Monday 12 April, 2010 at 01:53

    Now here’s a pleasant surprise. I can’t wait to see the disbelief that you scored this higher than HTTYD!

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 12 April, 2010 at 13:59

    Yeah, well, I’m a bit bewildered by all the acclaim for Dragon (it’s pretty good, but not oustanding, I think). This is much more interesting!

  3. Mastadge (Reply) on Tuesday 13 April, 2010 at 04:10

    Hmm. Dragon is more to my taste, but overlong.

    Out of *****, I’d probably give Dragon **** and Green Zone ***½.

    But my favorite Powell score remains Paycheck.

  4. Gregory (Reply) on Tuesday 4 May, 2010 at 03:53

    hmm. I’ve been a bit put off by the thickets of persussion here.but based on this rating I will definitely try to dig a little deeper.

    Still love Mr. and Mr. Smith as well

  5. Jeff (Reply) on Monday 4 October, 2010 at 04:07

    Just wanted to correct you on the “political” part of your review… The WMD’s were not the only reason we went to war in Iraq and they did have WMD’s (remember Saddam used nerve gas on his own people?) and every intelligence agency in the world agreed that he had them, he obviously got rid of them somehow. I do agree with you that the soundtrack is excellent.

  6. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 4 October, 2010 at 09:23

    I forget sometimes that not everyone is British! Our Prime Minister stood before our Parliament and asked them to vote to send our troops to war on the basis that Saddam had WMDs capable of being launched against Britain. No other reason. When asked, regime change was explicitly stated to not be a reason.

  7. Jeff (Reply) on Wednesday 6 October, 2010 at 01:10

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to criticize you. A lot of folks on my side of the pond also disagree about the reasons we went into Iraq. I hope that history will fairly judge what happened. I really enjoy your website James and your on-the-mark reviews. Keep up the great work. From a fan in Chicago.

  8. Michael (Reply) on Monday 1 November, 2010 at 10:32

    I quite enjoyed this score. On my first listen I was even entertaining ideas that it may be a 4.5 star score, but after a few listens it became more of a 3.5 to 4 star score. If it catches me in the right mood again I’m sure I’ll love it.

  9. Nate Elias (Reply) on Saturday 16 June, 2012 at 21:55

    I also loved this Score as well this Film, I can’t wait to hear more from the “Greengrass/Powell” Collaboration in the Future! 🙂