May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Reprise 9 47696-2 [48:44]
Purchase from: Crotchet  Amazon UK  

The 3 hours plus of this movie seemed to have wall-to-wall music. It was a surprise to discover only 50 minutes of it on this disc. A disappointing surprise in fact, because this reviewer found the film to possess one of the most intriguing sound designs heard in a long time. The film is bracketed by documentary-like vignettes that offer a disclaimer on the fragmentation and randomness of life. This is the writer / director’s ruse to string together the lives of a disparate collection of character sketches. By having extremely lengthy musical cues develop over the top of the many jumps to and from these separate lives, a cohesive element was added. During the dramatic set-pieces, something like the 10 minute "Showtime" really helped in making sense of why one person’s problem might have anything to do with another’s.

Despite the album’s short-changing on running time (and even if you haven’t seen the film), these lengthy cues are a standalone treat. Only one small 45-second burst of inappropriateness disturbs the accumulative effect, and that’s the "WDKK Theme" sequenced in the middle of the cues.

Stylistically, much of the music bounces along like some jovial quaint circus accompaniment; which isn’t to be taken as negative by any means. Elsewhere, the time-stretching effect is achieved by sustaining notes at great length, making for an almost quasi-religious tone for many of the character’s falls from grace and / or redemption. Although a liner note comment suggests this all fell like divine inspiration from the pen of Brion, the cue "I’ve Got A Surprise For You Today" bears a distinct resemblance to Hans Zimmer’s The Thin Red Line. Same trick. Same result.

My recommendation is to see the movie to truly appreciate the ideas this music represents. Then listen to in isolation and enjoy the opportunity to create ideas of your own.


Paul Tonks


Paul Tonks

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