Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Epic / 1997 / 70:03 (score 42:12)

Oliver Stone’s excellent U-Turn sees Sean Penn’s car break down in a small town in the American south while he’s on the run, with various shenanigans following involving him and Jennifer Lopez, whose husband hires him to kill her – and then she offers him money to kill her husband (Nick Nolte).  Stone enticed the great Ennio Morricone to write the score, one the final ones he did for Hollywood. The album opens with half an hour of mostly country songs (including some classics from Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline) before the focus turns to Morricone’s score.  The film’s a modern-day western in some ways and of course this composer has quite some experience in that genre, and he brings the quirkier aspects of his western style here too, in a score brimming with creativity.  It starts with the sultry main theme, “Grace”, a breathy female vocal performing the hypnotic melody.

“U-Turn” is another great theme, a whole host of fluttering reeds accompanied by harmonica and guitars supporting the great tune.  “Bobby” has a really noirish tint to it, a slightly dangerous mystique.  “Hallucination Walk” is really hypnotic; “Go On… Kill Grace” devilishly darkly humorous.  “A Banjo in the Desert” does what it says – the instrument performing a duet with a harmonica over some trademark Morricone suspenseful strings.  A sequence of more tense music follows – it doesn’t have the memorable melodies of the score’s earlier parts, but it’s still full of flavour and very entertaining.  There are some more fantastic pieces, like the fabulously quirky “Dialogue with the Indian” and the diabolical action track “End of Sheriff”.  Morricone does manage to build in one heart-meltingly gorgeous piece, “Old Family Souvenirs”, the theme being heard first performed by a dreamy female vocal before being taken up by violin, all with lilting guitar accompaniment.  The whole score’s a wonderful piece of entertainment, so enjoyable throughout.  Highly recommended.

Rating: **** |

Tags: ,

  1. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Friday 18 January, 2013 at 15:53

    What was the last time Morricone dabbled with Hollywood? Mission to Mars, maybe, or perhaps Ripley’s Game?

  2. Solaris (Reply) on Friday 18 January, 2013 at 17:10

    “Mission to Mars”, I believe.

    @James: Seeing that you’re writing lotsa Morricone-Reviews right now, how’bout you squeeze one for “Mission to Mars” in? Seeing that it was his last score for a Big-Budget-Film as well as one of his few ventures into the Sci-Fi genre… as well as a Score that pretty much counts as the definition of ‘Love OR Hate’. I’d like to hear your position on that one. 🙂

  3. John Stephen Walsh (Reply) on Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 19:08

    I just got this last week and it is a wonderful score, maybe my favorite of Morricone`s in the last twenty years. I haven`t cared for much of his I`ve heard from this period–they seem to lack the energy and drive of his best work, like they are trying too hard and missing–but this has a blend of his quirky and emotional sides that hits the target. [I`m no fan of either Stone or Penn but love this movie, an odd little daylight noir.]