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Last Knights
  • Composed by Martin Tillman and Satnam Ramgotra
  • MovieScore Media / 2015 / 64m

A medieval adventure movie starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, Last Knights follows a group of warriors who rise together against an oppressive foe in order to avenge their fallen master.  It is fair to say that the film is unlikely to be figuring prominently when awards season comes around.  The music is by frequent Hans Zimmer collaborators Martin Tillman and Satnam Ramgotra, both better-known as instrumentalists than composers, the former having played cello and the latter percussion on a number of his (and his associates’) scores.  It’s exactly twenty years since another medieval adventure with the same pun in its title, First Knight, was released; but given the two composers’ pedigrees I imagined that it was a very different one, King Arthur, that was likely the musical template.  Eventually that does prove to be the case, but you have to sit through the extremely challenging first half of the score before you get there.

There are admittedly some decent moments in that first half, particularly those featuring vocals by Natacha Atlas.  There is a soulful quality to her voice which lends an air of mysticism and all of the score’s best parts are those to which she contributes.  Unfortunately what surrounds them for half an hour or so are generally miserable, oppressive tests of endurance, an incredibly bleak musical atmosphere maintained throughout which just doesn’t do anything for me at all.  Of the two composers’ featured instruments, there are some very nice moments for cello and the percussion is impressively elaborate, but certainly not easy on the ears.  During the percussive and deeply unpleasant action music in the album’s first half I had to check a few times that I was listening to the right album because this is a far cry from the kind of music one would usually associate with the classy MovieScore Media label.  The suspense material is considerably more impressive – the abrasive synths and guitar riffs are actually really well done – but are as hard to like as they are easy to admire.  I really didn’t ever think I would find myself pining for the days of the silly power anthems of scores like King Arthur, but when one finally turned up in “Capital” I was almost jumping for joy and that marks a turning point of sorts for the score, with more of the old-school Zimmer style immediately following in the lengthy “Allies”, sadly alternating with some Dark Knight Rises.  This is a hard album to like, despite some good parts.

Rating: ** | |

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  1. Jason Farcone (Reply) on Sunday 26 April, 2015 at 23:21
  2. tiago (Reply) on Monday 27 April, 2015 at 04:11

    I like King Arthur, it’s a nice score, from the best years of Zimmer’s career, that includes The Thin Red Line, Prince of Egypt, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. And I really prefer the power anthems for King Arthur than the electronic mess of his Batmen and MOS scores.

  3. ANDRÉ -- Cape Town. (Reply) on Monday 27 April, 2015 at 12:48

    Thanks Jason – will connect to the link. Great seeing your name again…have missed your debating-postings.