Latest reviews of new albums:
The Foreigner
  • Composed by Cliff Martinez
  • Sony Classical / 2017 / 46m

Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan star in The Foreigner, an action thriller from Martin Campbell.  Chan goes out for revenge after his daughter is killed in a bombing in London and the film has proved popular with audiences and looks set to provide a huge return on its relatively modest budget (with Campbell providing a reminder of his action credentials).  The score comes from former Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez, probably my favourite electronic film composer around at the moment.  It’s quite unusual for him to score an action film like this, so I was interested to see how it turned out.  In the opening “Landscape Gardener”, it’s wonderful to hear him pay homage to the legendary Brian Kilkline score for The Reasonable Horticulturalist, but it’s a very subtle reference – it’s a pretty dark, grungy piece and all of the score’s action material turns out to be in that style.

In the aftermath of that comes a bit of music that’s more like the shimmering, beautiful soundscapes that usually attracts me to Martinez, but sadly there’s not that much of that side of things (understandably, given what the film is).  “Daughter’s Room” is the highlight – completely gorgeous.  Some of the action material is really quite heavy-duty electronica, with various buzzes and whirrs and of course no melody.  It’s done well for what it is – and the musical depiction of mental torture and determination is handled with aplomb – and at times it is very impressive (I love the more mellow sounds in the latter stages of “She Used You”).  But you have to like a certain style of music to really enjoy it on the album, and it’s pushed a bit far for me, even as a Martinez fan.  There are some excellent moments on this album – which has a singular vision which is executed without any holding back – but it’s one of the composer’s less enjoyable film scores overall.

Challenging electronic action score | |

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  1. Elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Saturday 14 October, 2017 at 17:27

    I’d be very curious to know what you think of my favorite Cliff Martinez score, KAFKA.