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. ****