In the wake of Twister, my immediate reaction was that this must be
a second remake of John Ford's pioneering disaster movie, Hurricane.
Fortunately it proves to be something altogether more interesting, a drama
adapted from the autobiographical novel, The Sixteenth Round, by Rubin
'Hurricane' Carter. Denzel Washington plays an innocent man in prison, except
that this time the Hollywood cliché is true. Rubin Carter is the boxer
in the wrong place at the wrong time, found guilty for a murder he really
did not commit, and though there are scenes in the ring, this is the story
of a man's wrongful incarceration and his, and his friends, fight to clear
The very highly acclaimed film is directed by Norman Jewison, probably still
best known for his early work helming such films as The Thomas Crown Affair,
Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar and Rollerball. Justice,
or the lack of it, has been on Jewison's agenda before, specifically in the
comedy And Justice for All. However, take a look through his filmography
and note an Oscar-nominated but commercially unsuccessful 1984 film, A
Soldier's Story. An African American army officer is placed in charge
of a racially tense murder investigation
and more interestingly still,
billed ninth in the credits in a fine young actor by the name of Denzel
Judging by Christopher Young's score, this is a subtle and atmospheric film.
There is no action or violent music at all. There are two songs, 'So Amazing'
by Clarke Anderson and Summer Anderson, which starts like a Methodist hymn
and quickly becomes a standard soul ballad with all the usual clichés,
and the rather more effectively crafted and performed 'I Will Rise Again'.
Unfortunately the promo copy provides no details about this track, which
really is a shame because I can imagine that as the credits roll this will
be a bit of slow-burning spine-tingler, with barely a dry eye in the house.
Christopher Young's music is understated throughout, with much of the classical
autumnal elegance John Williams brings to his 'serious' films, such as
Nixon and Angela's Ashes. His title theme recalls Hans Zimmer's
The Assassin, those sections with a wordless female soul voice over
an atmospheric backing, while elsewhere there is a touch of orchestral jazz,
a trumpet solo in the Miles Davis lineage. Most of the score though, is elegant,
restrained and purely symphonic, and builds to a fine emotional peak in 'Hate
Put Me in Prison, Love's Gonna Bust Me Out' wherein the female voice returns
with quite beauty. This is a rich, dignified, valedictory score for what
promises to be one of the year's best films. As long as you are not looking
for the explosive action music the title initially led me to expect, you
will probably find The Hurricane offers a refreshingly sophisticated
respite from multiplex sound and fury.
Gary S. Dalkin