Random Hearts tells the story of two people: tough-minded (of course) internal
affairs cop, Dutch Van Den Broek (Harrison Ford), and Kay Chandler, a high
profile Congresswoman (the delectable Kristin Scott Thomas) who never would
have met in a perfect world (so says the publicity blurb). Dutch is involved
in a high-stakes corruption case and Kay is embroiled in a bitter re-election
campaign. Quoting the blurb again, "they develop an extraordinary relationship
that forces them to confront the truth that threatens to destroy them and
discover the strength to triumph over the deception that surrounds them."
Director Sidney Pollack, wanted a rather different score for this unusual
love story and went back to Dave Grusin for the answer. [Random Hearts
marks their ninth collaboration.] Grusin has more than 40 film scores and
TV themes to his credit. He won an Oscar for Robert Redfords The
Milago Beanfield War (1989) and Academy Award nominations for his work
on: On Golden Pond, Tootsie, Heaven Can Wait; The Graduate; The
Fabulous Baker Boys; St Elsewhere and Baretta. Amongst
his other film scores I particularly enjoyed his music for Falling in
Love (a much under-rated film, I have always felt).
Not surprisingly, Grusins score for Random Hearts is very much
jazz-based with a quartet made up of the personnel named in the header to
this review stiffened with strings and other instrumentalists as each track
requires. There are two source songs: Diana Krall sings Jerome Kerns
evergreen The Folks Who Live on the Hill, endearingly supported,
quietly and sympathetically by the quartet; and Patty Larkin gives an equally
appealing rendition of her own song, Good Thing.
The material of the other tracks is nicely varied adding up to a very satisfying
programme, ideal as background for dinner, dancing or late night listening.
A mood of uneasy and diffident romance is set with the opening slow moving
Looking for Peyton cue played by the quartet. Then in the following
Dutch, a flurry of altogether darker more disturbing strings
material floats across the basic jazz-rhythm ostinato figures with slight
volumes of growling synth. The tense, dissonant and cold thriller-style material
is heard again in the opening minute or so of Keys, and in
It is, however, the more romantic material that predominates in this score
most notably in the bitter-sweet Random Hearts (Love Theme),
the extra colour, drama and poignancy of Intimate Distance and
in the lovely quiet introspective melody for strings, piano and harp strings
that is Passengers. Seasonal changes from the quartet
(joined by the strings) is a haunting little vignette. As if all this was
not enough we are treated to two exotic and colourful, infectious Latin numbers:
Playa Del Sul and Aquí en Miami for which
suitable instrumentation is imported to create the requisite vibrant atmosphere.
Unhesitatingly recommended and for me this is one of the few memorable new
scores of 1999.