- Composed by James Newton Howard
- Varese Sarabande 302 067 075 / 2010 / 67:26
About the last film one might expect the director of the magnificent The Lives of Others, the gloriously-named Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, to make next would be a romantic thriller starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. But that’s what he did – The Tourist is a remake of the 2005 French film Anthony Zimmer, which had a score by Frederic Talgorn. This was meant to have a score by Gabriel Yared, but he was replaced quite late by James Newton Howard (and one piece of Yared music is, surprisingly, on this soundtrack album). Howard’s score is very Hollywood, in a way Yared’s probably wasn’t; many reviews of the film have been highly critical of the score, so maybe the producers didn’t make the right decision. In any case, for these purposes, I’m only interested in the album, which I have to say sounds pretty elegant and is very enjoyable.
The ever-chameleonic Howard blends several styles together. He has once more done his best John Powell impersonation for the action music, of which there is a lot. There isn’t much variety in it, but there is real energy; it’s consistently exciting and consistently bright, ever-present percussion driving forward the melodic brass. The other main side to it is the more romantic material – we’re in Paris, so of course the most hackneyed cliche of all film music must be brought out, with Howard obeying Rule One, which is All films set in Paris MUST be accompanied by accordion music. If there isn’t a shot of the Eiffel Tower at some point accompanied by accordions, I’ll eat my hat. However – the main romantic theme, while it sounds extremely familiar (I’ve been waiting for someone else to point out what it sounds like, but so far nobody has, so maybe it’s just my imagination) is completely charming. The composer doesn’t actually do anything with it other than just repeat it several times, but it’s such a charming piece, that hardly matters. This isn’t a great album by any means, but it’s very enjoyable; probably Howard’s most enjoyable non-Shyamalan album in a long time. ***