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  • Composed by Federico Jusid
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2016 / 65m

It seems more than a little sad that two of the greatest screen actors of their generation, Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, can end up starring in straight-to-video fare like Misconduct, a legal thriller about a young lawyer (Josh Duhamel) under extreme strain from a big pharmaceutical company he is pursuing.  The music comes courtesy of Argentine composer Federico Jusid.  My only prior experience of his music is the wonderful stuff he has done for Spanish television, most notably the historical epics Isabel and Carlos, and not surprisingly Misconduct could hardly be further stylistically removed from them.  The album gets off to a great start with a five-minute “Overture” of real quality, stylish and dynamic, a hint of Jerry Goldsmith perhaps at the start and then Bernard Herrmann, but that’s easily as good as the score gets, which apart from a few distinctive sections (usually courtesy of instrumental colour) is a fairly routine Hollywood thriller score.

Occasional jazzy hints give it a bit of a noir feel (Goldsmith again), the piano is used in some striking ways, there are some handsomely classical violin solos and when the score does burst into action material as it occasionally does there’s some decent material.  I don’t particularly like the surprisingly heavy electronic presence – while the bulk of the music is orchestral, there’s a fair amount of processing going on which lends it a slightly odd, cheap and trashy sound – not in a Remote Control way, but if you’re going to go to the expense of hiring an orchestra I’m not really sure why you’d choose to do that do it.  And there are some really dull suspense cues included on the lengthy album which really do it no favours.  So all in all it’s a mixed bag – definitely some quality, and Jusid’s the real deal as a composer as he has demonstrated in Spain – for whatever reason, something seems to happen to film composers on the plane from Madrid to Los Angeles, because just as Roque Baños, Alberto Iglesias and Fernando Velazquez have to some extent or other seemed to shed what makes them so good in Europe when they work on American movies, and while Misconduct is decent enough for the most part it’s not likely to stick in anyone’s memory for very long.

Rating: ** 1/2 | |

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