November 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / November /

The Road to Perdition  
  DECCA RECORDS 017 167-2   [70:11]
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

road to perdition

The distinctive, always impressive Thomas Newman continues to carve out a place for himself as one of the finest and most in demand composers of the modern era. In some ways this could be seen as a companion piece to The Green Mile (2000), not I should quickly state because it also stars Tom Hanks, but because of the similar period setting with Newman proving once again that he has fashioned a musical 'voice' that evokes a strong sense of Americana without ever becoming sentimental or cute. Of course the fact that both this story and The Green Mile possess a certain darkness helps, but Newman's emotion always comes from the soul rather than the mind and he is able to move and involve the listener (or viewer) without resorting to obvious manipulation. His music simply speaks the language of drama and becomes real for us. With this new score for Sam Mendes' follow-up to his Oscar winning American Beauty (2000), Newman creates a textured, thoughtful mosaic that is charged with atmosphere, suspense and feeling. If I counter all of this by saying that the soundtrack does not quite have the same potent effect without its visuals, most of us will accept that very few mood pieces, which this certainly is, ever do. But despite this observation the undeniable intelligence and talent on display here should be enough to engage all but the most difficult to please.

Mark Hockley


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