Monday, 11 November 2013

Past Spotlight-Public Enemies Score Review

Title: Public Enemies

Composer: Elliot Goldenthal

Length: 29 minutes

Track Count: 11 tracks

Year Of Release: 2009

Score Themes: 1930s, dark, classical

Film Synopsis: The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.

Hello! Another past spotlight, I'm sure you're getting sick of them! This time we have Elliot Goldenthal's score for the film Public Enemies, a film that got a "Meh" out of me, or more specifically, a 6 out of 10. I don't know much about Elliot Goldenthal, and I've never heard one of his scores, but apparently, he's not too shabby. I'm looking forward to listening to this score, so let's jump in!

The score is a lovely display of orchestral skill, and from the first piece, Drive To Bohemia, Goldenthal has me hooked! It's very classical and minimalist, both some of my favourite types of score. It's a satisfying score, filled with pieces that will leave you feeling complete. One of the biggest problems I have with these classical scores is that they often leave me wanting more. Not the greedy more, because it's so good. The "I feel no fulfillment! Give me more!" It's good to see that Elliot Goldenthal has provided enough substance and power to leave you feeling full.

The score has a couple classical songs by musicians such as Diana Krall, Otis Taylor and Billie Holiday. These all fit the tone of the score, and they don't at all detract from the overall experience. The Diana Krall set, Bye Bye Blackbird is a soft and soothing song that will have you relaxed and calm. Otis Taylor gives us Nasty Letter, which showcases some awesome guitar solos, and it suits the 1930s period so damn well! The Indian Bottom Association Old Regular Baptists presents the haunting and striking Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, which has a short running time, filled with some really hard hitting moments. Billie Holiday gives us some funky music, in our final guest appearance. It's enjoyable, and once again, suits the rest of the score perfectly!

Goldenthal shines through with the string and brass sections. He evokes saddening and powerful pieces from these instruments, and these types of instruments suit this film and score well. So much of the score feels so effortless and simple, that it just allows you time to sit back and enjoy. You don't need to examine the score in a heap of depth to enjoy it! Just get comfortable and let the music take you on a ride, a ride to an interesting and fantastic world!

The only negative that I can find would have to be that there are a few pieces with repetitive and unoriginal riffs, most noticeable in Plane To Chicago. These are small riffs, but they are still there, and they needed pointing out, in my humble opinion. It's a small nitpick, simply because these repetitive riffs are far between.

Conclusion: 
Haunting and incredibly gloomy, both in the positive sense, Elliot Goldenthal's score for Public Enemies is a real treat! It captures the time period it's film takes place in, and Goldenthal takes advantage of this, creating something that is minimal yet powerful. He ticks a lot of boxes here, and I'm disappointed in myself for not finding the man quicker! Great score!

Highlights:
Drive To Bohemia
Billie's Arrest
Bye Bye Blackbird*
Nasty Letter*
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
JD Dies*

Individual Piece Scores:
Drive To Bohemia-98
Billie's Arrest-95
Love In The Dunes-82
Bye Bye Blackbird-100*
Phone Call To Billie-92
Nasty Letter-100*
Plane To Chicago-86
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah-98
Gold Coast Restaurant-90
The Man I Love-95
JD Dies-100*

Junkie Score: 94.18

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