When exactly did the serial killer movie become something we readily call a sub-genre
of its own? Whenever that was, it's since meant a score containing lots of atonal
ambience and shock chord crashes. That is unless the powers-that-be perceives it as
something other than a serial killer movie. The booklet notes to this album are at
pains to explain that the story is split into thirds into which the score can be
seen to belong stylistically independent. Then it says that playing the music in
picture order makes for an 'imbalance of musical colour', so they've edited and
re-ordered cues. That lost me.
It's a rare soundtrack indeed that doesn't dazzle the ear with colour from cue to cue.
Nature of the beast and all that. The point though is that despite these considerations
behind the album's sequencing, it still resounds with contrasting peaks and troughs of
colour. What feel like moments of quietude never seem to last. Only the first few seconds
of the opening "Going West" need to be heard to be prepared for this.
This all therefore confuses the character of the album, and as a result we cannot be
completely certain what the character of the score is (without seeing the film of course!).
Regardless of the 'cut and paste', it certainly doesn't accord to the template of a serial
killer movie score. Only rarely does it kick into rhythmic action mode for the final third
aboard a speeding train. Then closing the album is an 11 minute "Outtake Suite"
which sploshes on yet further colour.
Being a Poledouris score, there's plenty to interest in the music itself. Orchestrations
are engaging, and a subtly simple main theme (3 notes!) is flexibly utilised to tie
disparate emotions and situations together. A strong presentation of the theme is at
the start of "Buck's Sendoff", a gentle one at the aforementioned "Going West".
There's an element of electronic percussion that occasionally feels like it doesn't belong however.
It's tough to be completely enthusiastic ultimately. The score certainly warranted an album; but
should it have been this one?