L’Arnacoeur Composed by Klaus Badelt
Label Zero (2010)
More soundclips below provided by AmazonMp3
takes his romance seriously, with heartfelt poetry and yearning. ”
Review by Helen San
L’ARNACOEUR (English title: “Heartbreaker”) is a
French romantic comedy (released in France on March 17, 2010) about a team
of 3 con artists who specialize in breaking up couples. Their multilingual
chameleon grifter, Alex (think super spy meets Don Juan), seduces women to
help them see how unhappy they are in their relationships with
philanderers and brutes. His sister, Melanie, serves as the team’s manager
and her husband of 15 years, Marc, as the high-tech support. While their
reputation as the best in the break-up business precedes them, things
start to go wrong when Alex takes a job against his ethics: break up a
couple that is truly happy. Overwhelmed by debt, he consents to be hired
by a rich father to break up his daughter Juliette’s engagement to “Mr.
Perfect,” a wealthy, handsome, generous, and completely smitten Englishman
(Andrew Lincoln, who played Mark in LOVE, ACTUALLY). Stumped, Alex can
find no fault with Juliette’s fiancé. Juliette is not falling for his
usual tricks, and he unexpectedly falls for her.
Very well received by audiences and critics alike, the film is said to be
witty and hilarious, hailed already as the romantic comedy of the year—at
least by the French. The comedy is spiced up by Juliette’s penchant for
George Michael songs and Dirty Dancing choreography. Of course, on the
romantic count, being filmed on location in gorgeous Monte Carlo doesn’t
hurt. Not one bit.
KLAUS BADELT’S score is, predictably, a mixture of romance and comedy, but
not at the same time. BADELT takes his romance seriously, with heartfelt
poetry and yearning. The love theme is a delicate and vulnerable piano
motif that perfectly represents wondrous admiration and quiet
lovesickness. In Love Theme (1), the longest romantic cue on the album,
the theme is developed beautifully with a string harmony for the piano.
The rest of the love cues [Rapproachment (7), Wedding Dress (12), Near
Kiss (16), and Two of Us (21)], while endearing, are too short to offer
anything novel. The exception is Juliette’s Theme (3), which gives us a
secondary theme in the same tender style.
The rest of the score, the comedic portion, follows the trend in “swindle
and theft” music: retro 70’s funk and jazz. BILL CONTI reinvigorated the
association of 70’s jazz with elaborate deception in THE THOMAS CROWN
AFFAIR. DAVID HOLMES popularized it for the OCEAN’S ELEVEN series and
kicked it up a notch with funk. JOSEPH LO DUCA uses the style every week
to accompany the con games in the brilliant TV series, LEVERAGE. Now,
BADELT has fun with it to depict the schemes of these professional
heartbreakers. I don’t know what it is about 70’s funk and jazz that makes
composers think of hustles and scams, but it appears to be the new anthem
of the Grift.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a big fan of funk, or even funky jazz.
It generally feels repetitive, unoriginal, and unmelodic. When BADELT
brings his depth of emotion and Zimmerian influence to funk, however, I
hear a difference. There is an energy in the synthesizer accompaniments
and underscore that makes it sound more spirited and fun. This animated
comedic funk bumps my track rating up a notch to 3 stars from the 2 stars
a slightly more serious cue (such as one in OCEAN’S ELEVEN) would
There is a fair amount of repetition though. The cues heard in
Bodyguard (2), Plane to Vegas (8), Spying Bums (10), and Digging in the
Dirt (20) are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Sometimes, Badelt throws in some jazzy funk in Bicycle Chase (5), suspense funk in
Debts (15), action funk in Matteo (18), or rock funk in Going for a Ride
(4). But for the most part, it is the same funky theme.
Fans of synthesizer action would be pleased to find one driving cue in
Carjacking (11). It’s only a minute long, but to a ZIMMER fan like myself,
it was a fantastic surprise. The album also features a pleasant Joni
Mitchell-like song entitled “Doing the Wrong Things” both as it is heard
in film, weaved into the score, and as a stand-alone song. The album is
only available as a digital download, and there is no information on the
artist provided in the track listing.
L’ARNACOEUR (literally, “the con of the heart”) is a delightful, albeit
somewhat repetitious, sample of what BADELT can do in the romantic comedy
/ con-game genre. At only 29 minutes long, including two versions of a
song, the album does not showcase the depth we know he is fully capable
of. Still, like most of BADELT’s music, it allows you to feel the emotions
of the story, even without seeing the film. We can’t ask much more of a
composer than that.