August 9, 2009

CD Review: The Informers Original Motion Picture Score: Music by Christoper Young

Here is a review of a score for a film that I loathe. Fortunately, the score plays much better than the film does.

"The Informers is a shallow film about shallow characters with a proposed purpose of indicting the shallow culture excess of Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Instead it falls victim to that which it seeks to attack, becoming a shallow exercise with nothing to offer. Somewhere along the way it lost its way: a film in search of a purpose. This disturbing lack of content leaves the audience adrift in a sea of emptiness,desperately looking for a life preserver and finding nothing."

That is how I opened my review of the film back in April. It is a movie that I pretty much loathe for its complete and utter lack of anything resembling entertainment. It is also a movie I never expected to be revisiting for any reason other than to place it on a "Worst Of" list, which it has already done by topping my bottom five list for the first half of 2009. No other film has come close to this level of lousiness.

So, why am I here writing about it again? Simple, I have gotten my hands on a copy of Christopher Young's score album. After giving it a listen, I think I may have found the one thing of value to come out of this pitiful excuse for a movie. This score is very listenable and quite different from your traditional score, all while never drawing all that much attention to itself.

Christopher Young has been composing for feature films since the early 1980's where he worked on films like Def-Con 4, a post apocalyptic B-movie that I have affection for, all the way up to recent big screen outings like Spider-Man 3, Drag Me to Hell, and The Uninvited. His work is diverse and incorporates traditional orchestra as well as electronic elements. For The Informers he took a different route, using neither orchestra nor electronics, all right, maybe a little electronics. Instead of those avenues, he took to the guitar. Why? I am not really sure, but it certainly fits the setting of the movie.

The film is set within the confines of 1980's excess and has a soundtrack littered with New Wave artists like Wang Chung, Gary Numan, Simple Minds, and Flock of Seagulls. It seems only natural that the score should take on some of that style as its own. A traditional orchestral score would stand out and not blend in with what the movie was seeking to accomplish (not that it would ultimately accomplish anything).

The music is eminently listenable as background music. It is not a great score by any means, but when you put it on, it is very easy to get caught up in it as it keeps that same, even tempo throughout all of the cues. There are no great variations in tempo or volume, it just keep flowing along in almost hypnotic fashion.

I am at a loss t pick out standout cues, they all sort of flow together into one long track. If I listen long enough, I find myself slightly nodding my head as I stare off into space, not a single thought on my mind. Come to think of it, that is what the movie made me do. The difference here is that I actually enjoy this utter blankness. That sounds like a back handed compliment, but it is not intended that way.

Christopher Young's score does not stand out as brilliant, nor does it sink to the bottom alongside the movie. It is the kind of score that can find new life when taken as its own entity, separate from the film. It is quite good and well worth the time to check out.



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