- Composed by Brian Tyler
- Varèse Sarabande / 2015 / 56m
Based on a controversial incident in 2004, Truth tells the story of an American news report which cast doubt on President Bush’s military service at the time he was seeking re-election, a report which it later emerged was based on fabricated evidence. It led to the downfall of a major tv network’s main news anchor and one of its producers, who are played in the film by Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett respectively. The film is the directorial debut of screenwriter James Vanderbilt, known for the recent Spider-Man movies amongst others.
The score is by the prolific Brian Tyler, taking a rare break from action movies – all four of his 2014 scores were for action blockbusters, as were his two earlier this year. He’s exceptionally good at those movies, but it’s nice to hear him do something different, work on a type of film he doesn’t do very often. For Truth he was written a straighforward traditional orchestral score with more than a dash of Americana; it’s actually surprisingly “big” given the film’s subject matter, probably a lot more so than many would have been expecting.
The album opens with “Asking Questions”, in which some of the score’s main ideas are revealed, swirling repeated string phrases and piano creating a compelling sense of drama (it’s actually got a little Alexandre Desplat about it – and the later “Needle in a Haystack” pushes that even further); this leads into a surprisingly tender, lovely melody for the orchestra and then a more urgent piece of driving momentum. Then in the main title comes a piece of hefty drama, all showy and bold like an actual tv news theme should be. It’s a really strong piece of music, with an undoubtedly patriotic feel.
Even in the score’s quieter moments, Tyler imparts a sense of importance into proceedings. In “Documents” the harp is used prominently and the composer uses it and the piano throughout the score to represent journalistic investigation (it’s intended to mimic in a way the sound of typing). Next, “Three Hours” builds up to a frantic action finale; and while “Culmination” is relatively mellow, it features again that patriotic feeling, clearly suggesting there is a noble purpose behind the characters’ actions. “Transcendence” introduces a wordless female vocalist, a device overused a few years ago but less common today and it’s effective here, beautiful. “Uncovering Lies” is one of the best of the “journalistic” cues, effectively portraying a sense of investigation and clues coming together, relatively low key but certainly gripping.
“Humble Beginnings” is an especially warm piece of Americana and focuses on a lovely theme developed further as the album nears its conclusion . In “60 Minutes” there’s an excited atmosphere, fast-paced drama unfolding. Then the final three cues offer a big finale, with “I Am What I Am” pushing the Americana then “Public Apology” is laced with a haunting sadness before everything gets wrapped up in the excellent “End of an Era”.
Truth is a good, solid score revealing a slightly different side to Brian Tyler. He retains his customary flair even for a film like this and the main title piece will become a favourite for sure. Recorded in Sydney with both the composer and Christopher Gordon conducting, the album plays well and in an unusually strong year for new film music it’s another one that impresses. As I said, it’s certainly not a “small” score and there’s nothing boring here – it should have a wide appeal.
Rating: *** 1/2