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Good thriller score is full of quality, though there's little new here
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008Lakeshore Entertainment; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall
Even though he scored the biggest box office hit (by far) of his career, I'd say 2007 was a bit of a mixed year for Christopher Young - his experience on Spiderman 3 was presumably not a happy one, with all sorts of focus groups and committees seemingly running the show as far as the music was concerned; and he toiled on Curtis Hanson's Lucky You, recording hours of music for a film which ultimately featured less than twenty minutes of his score (though in that case he was apparently fairly happy with the situation).
He starts 2008 by returning to a more familiar genre - the action thriller. Untraceable won't be going down in the annals of great thrillers, I would guess, with Gregory Hoblit's film about a website which features live video feed of people being tortured to death sounding rather unappealing, and its box office performance has been modest. However, Hoblit's choice of composer was very wise, and even though it would be great to see him working on the high-quality films his talent deserves, I would say anybody making this type of film who wants a chance of making it more distinguished would do very well to give Christopher Young a call and pay him whatever it takes, because his intelligent music goes way beyond the call of duty in its attempts to create tension and add a real gloss of quality to the film.
The score opens with the excellent main theme. It's one of those hypnotic, psychological pieces that Young writes so well for films like this - verging on unsettling, but remaining always melodic, it's fine film music. "Missing Flowers" presents a more romantic theme, and it's also a cracker - wistful, beautiful stuff. It's only in the next cue that the more expected type of music is established, with "Death After Life After Death" presenting more urgent action material, with Goldsmithian synths accompanying jabbing strings and false comfort from the piano.
It's more subtle than it could have been, I guess - a cue like "Acid Decomposition" spends a lot of time building tension and offering gentle prods of excitement, and doing it very well - and it's very satisfying music. I guess the one negative point is that there's nothing really new here for Young - he's done this before, several times - but there's nobody around who does this sort of thing any better these days, so it's still great to hear. Fans of the composer will love it.