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Clever thriller score boasts some fine moments

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Album cover copyright (c) 1999 Restless Records; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall

An engaging but mindless film, Entrapment is perfect popcorn entertainment - Sean Connery up to his usual tricks as a high-tech thief, Catherine Zeta Jones looking dazzling as the insurance investigator trying to frame him, and plenty of exotic locations for a kind of Bond-esque thriller.  Christopher Young can be a highly cerebral film composer at times, writing music of the highest intelligence even when the film has none, but sometimes he forgets all that and just has some fun - Entrapment is one such occasion.

It's great to hear Young let his hair down in this way - the score came not so long after Hard Rain and certainly has similarities.  There's some thrilling action music, with Young's love of Jerry Goldsmith fairly obvious again (though this music sounds like Young, not Goldsmith) - the chopping, high strings getting agitated over rumbling deep brass ostinati, in unusual meters, was the Goldsmithian action model which served him so well over such a long period, and Young makes full use of it here, adding his own distinctive twists all over the place.

As I mentioned, it's designed as a high-tech film and presumably from that, Young takes the cue to add in some electronics, with the percussion tracks melding in seamlessly with the orchestral mayhem, but always there to support it, never to overwhelm it.  And some of this action music is first-rate, with "Blackmail" being a particularly thrilling piece, there being some knowingly, cleverly funny action in "A Certain Uncertainty" and later "Millennium Countdown" being almost impossibly exciting.  As with any film like this, there's a fair amount of suspense music too, with Young trying to keep things interesting through varying orchestral flavours, but just maybe some of that material should have been chopped for a stronger album overall.

There's some strong melodic material spread over the score too - another stylish and sexy main title piece from a composer who specialises in them (though the theme doesn't really occur much in the body of the score), a gentle piano interlude in "Fayeth in Fate", a rousing (almost tongue-in-cheek, I suspect) bit of romance in "Bright Moments", and genuinely affecting bit of sweep in "Le Fleur de la Musique".  The only real misfires come towards the end - "The Empress Mask" is the longest track, at 7:23, but nothing much happens in it and it could easily have been discarded; and the finale, "Thank God", is disappointingly not a Goldsmithian rousing conclusion to the score but rather a piece of "light techno" which doesn't offer any particularly satisfying closure.  Fairly minor points, but still.

Believe it or not, it's Entrapment that pretty much set up Young's career as a high-profile composer - previously his work had almost all been on relatively low-profile films, or for horror films which may have done well, but were never going to be taken particularly seriously.  Shortly after this he did The Hurricane which really brought him attention, leading to Wonder Boys and The Shipping News and all the rest which have brought him such a varied and enormously successful career since.  It's not one of his best scores, but it's miles better than what most composers come up with for this type of film, and as such is another recommended title from this fine composer.


  1. Entrapment (2:20)
  2. Saints and Sinners (3:58)
  3. Fayeth in Fate (1:57)
  4. Bright Moments (2:19)
  5. The Dancing Jars (1:07)
  6. Blackmail (2:45)
  7. Who's Who? (3:04)
  8. Heist Society (3:36)
  9. A Certain Uncertainty (3:12)
  10. Le Fleur de la Musique (1:59)
  11. Kuala Lumpur (1:17)
  12. Impossible, but Doable (1:36)
  13. Thieving (4:12)
  14. Wondering Aloud (2:54)
  15. Silent Partner (1:31)
  16. The Empress Mask (7:23)
  17. Millennium Countdown (1:30)
  18. Alive Again (1:59)
  19. Try, then Trust (2:11)
  20. Thank God (2:05)