Monday, June 30, 2014

Film Score of the Month - Paranoia (2013) by Junkie XL

JohnnyTwotoes wants us to skip the movie but listen to the music!

Paranoia was another one of the big name (Harrison Ford no less) box office bombs that came, was trashed by critics, made no money and disappeared into DVD land. It was not a great film but I do not despise it as bad as some others did. It received a astounding 5% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, so most will look at that and pass. The film itself was cliched and uninteresting for the most part but one area the film was effective was Junkie XL's ominous techno-ish score. 

Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg), a composer, DJ, producer and multi faceted musician from the Netherlands up until the past year or so had done a few score but nothing as mainstream as he has done with Megamind, Paranoia, Divergent and 300: Rise of An Empire. All with A list casts, he has now graduated into the forefront of film scoring. 

The score to Paranoia is short at only about 35 minutes of score music and an entire scene of scoring is not included in the released product, yet this is still a great listen. The score starts with the soft dreamscapes of 'Lights Across The River' as the hero Adam (Liam Hemsworth) is dreaming of making it big in business with his friends, all of whom work for Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). Of course, Wyatt is a scumbag and JXL's trance like tones give way to sequenced motifs that tell us the bad happenings are on the way. 

'We Are The Other Half' furthers JXL's use of electronically altered tones and soundscapes peppered with a light piano montage that is quite beautiful. 'Fit In To Get In' is a contemplative piece as Adam's journey through the world of corporate espionage begins to take shape. Adam begins to see that nothing and no one is safe or innocent as heard in the next track aptly titled 'Candid Camera' and this time JXL incorporates some electronic chorus which with a multi layered motif as it crescendos into 'Adam 2.0' when the hero starts to think outside the box. Realizing he is in between a rock and a hard place, Adam makes some moves and decisions that only exacerbate his situation to the point he is visited by some heavy hitters sent by Wyatt in the chase piece 'On Your Knees'. The heavies give Adam an ultimatum and in the next track, 'Hamilton' Adam is paid a visit by the FBI with their own demands. It is another track that builds and builds with added electronic strings, light chorus until Adam sees his only way out.

'Titans Fall' is a booming electronic symphony as the Adam's plans ensnare their thirst for greed and power. 'Remember Who You Are' is an beautiful track and my favorite in the score. It is a touchingly heart felt track with just a soft piano and light strings as Adam beings to realize how much he has changed into everything he swore he would never become. The last minute of this track will bring a lump to your throat. It is that beautiful. I will let you listen to hear just how gorgeous it really is. Which brings us to 'Adam's Theme' which doubles as the end credits theme as well. A solid beat and sampled choral arrangements make this a toe tapper. It is a track I have found myself whistling this tune on several occasions. 

There is an entire piece of score that is heard throughout the final espionage sequence when Adam makes his moves to rescue himself and all he holds dear, that is not included on this score album. Why? I have no idea. Other than that, the film Paranoia is lifted from atrocious to passable action fare purely on the score by Junkie XL. I recommend it as well as JXL's scores for Divergent and 300: Rise of An Empire. If film scores are not your bag, then I recommend some of his non score albums which are pretty addicting. What is next for this hot new composer? Oh, nothing really except putting the final touches on his score for the eagerly awaited reboot of Mad Max: Fury Road. THAT should be something to see AND hear!!!


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