Surprise extras are always a treat. Your first is the brief but neat "Phoenix
Pictures Presents" logo jingle. Then in closing you get Liane & The Boheme
Bar Trio crooning the highly appropriate "Das Ist Berlin". In-between comes
a score recorded in October of 97, and which has sat awaiting distribution
interminably since then. Thank goodness the wait is over.
Apt Pupil is the second big screen between Ottman (as composer and
editor) for director Bryan Singer. Their other was the masterful The Usual
Suspects. Everyone on the planet will be making that same connection
in any analysis, but what occurred to me was how musically the opening of
both films share some commonality as well. Cyclic harp motif, and then a
string bridge into a very lush wash of sound. A solo violin plays with piano.
Am I making this up ? Suspects title theme is almost concert
piece in its development however, so there the similarities (if any) end.
Pupil follows a small wild ride from the lush beginnings into dangerous
undertones that speak of the McKellan characters Nazi background.
The body of the score is largely divisible into two distinct styles. The
first and more accessible stems from the innocent theme introduced in the
"Main Titles". It often begins by violin solo before moving into full orchestral
splendour ("I want to hear about it"). Style Number Two would be the crashing
walls of sound effects generated by innovative use of the orchestra. "The
Chamber" stabs with some enormous hits of atonality and dissonance. Here
we are simply following the trademark shocks of author Stephen King which
always translate into gory spectacle on film. Since this was penned under
his Richard Bachman pseudonym, it is actually a little more of a cerebral
affair than his other popcorn reads. Singer optioned the script looking to
get into the morality clashes brought up by a teen fascinated with war
atrocities. So the echoing bombast in many of these cues is not merely
hitting shots of the sudden corpse tradition. There
is an entire subtext of sanity and psychological horror that it represents.
Be prepared for one seemingly out-of-place surprise. "Cat Bake" features
the almost Carry On movie school of comical scoring with an extract from
a Larry Groupe piece - "Cat Dance". Without spoiling the effect too much,
if you consider this cues title and thereby ascertain what happening
on screen you can see that every attempt is made to curtail musical expectations
here. That is the scores success story. The album might leave you a
little cold if you dont have the film in mind to recall. For the first
grouped style of innocence it is definitely worth any secondary chill however.