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Pleasant enough - if generic - spooky thriller score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album cover copyright (c) 2007TriStar Pictures; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
"Sandra Bullock... living the dream... wonderful life... great family... husband dies... or maybe not... was it all a dream..? was her whole life a lie?" When hearing those words, the TriStar Pictures executives leapt from their chairs, thought "this one can't fail!" and signed cheques for squillions of dollars to greenlight Premonition, the most original Hollywood movie since Gus Van Sant's Psycho. It came... it got rubbish reviews... nobody saw it... it went. Was it all a dream? Was her whole life a life? (Sorry, got carried away.) Director Mennan Yapo didn't seem to have much going for him with his movie, and if he'd asked me then I would not have needed a premonition (do you see what I did?) to tell him that the best way to at least partially rescue it with music was unlikely to be by hiring Team Badelt to write the score - but, much to my amazement, he didn't ask me how to at least partially rescue his film with music, so I didn't get the chance to do my "premonition" joke on him, and he didn't get the chance to hit me.
In any case, my advice would not necessarily have been the harbinger Yapo was needing to kickstart his film, because Badelt's score is actually not that bad. For sure, some of the best parts sound not entirely dissimilar to The Sixth Senseand other spooky thriller scores, but effective music's effective music, and the repeating piano figures are just right at building the tension, even though ultimately Badelt isn't skilled enough to provide much in the way of a payoff (though he comes close with a stirring passage in the middle of "Inconsistencies"). When the piano tune gets taken up by choppy strings and synth percussion, again we're on familiar ground, but again it works well. Very occasionally Badelt attempts to take things to the next level with dissonant string and horn passages, but these aren't so effective, being just too innocuous to have any particular impact.
The composer uses generally pretty long pieces here, which is quite rare for someone of his ilk, and it's nice to hear him at least trying to wring drama out of that type of scoring, even though he doesn't quite do it as musically as James Horner frequently does (the best cue is "Roommates and a Liar", which goes through an impressive range of emotions and features a charming passage in which a solo part is passed from violin to cello). In truth, Badelt is far from Horner in most respects, and it would be interesting to hear how the latter would have approached this - I suspect the underlying thought process would have been similar, but the results more distinguished. For Premonitionis the kind of film music which pushes the buttons you want it to push, but does it in such an inoffensively bland way that it is hard to derive much reward from it when there are so many dozens of similar scores which have done it so much better. It's all perfectly pleasant, and certainly not as offensively dumb as other recent Badelt scores have been - there are a couple of nice ideas here, and clearly some thought actually went into it - but it's one of those albums that seems to just wash over the listener, leaving little impression despite there being nothing wrong with it.