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Proof of Life (Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman

Musical Extortion
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Proof of Life (Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman

Proof of Life
5/10

Proof of Life (Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman

 

Category

Score

Originality 6
Music Selection 5
Composition 4
CD Length 5
Track Order 5
Performance 6
Final Score 5/10

 

 

 

 Purchasing Options

 

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Danny Elfman
Composer 
Danny Elfman

 

Quick Quotes

"The basic elements are all there, but it's just too difficult to become attached to it. And unlike some of Elfman's other recent scores, Proof of Life is not quirky enough to sustain itself on minimalistic exterimentation alone. It simply fades away into the library similarly conceived and performed efforts by many other, lesser known composers." ***

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks Reviews Proof of Life

 

 

Composed by Danny Elfman
Produced by Danny Elfman and Ellan Segal
Conducted by Pete Anthony
Orchestrations by Edgardo Simone & Mark McKenzie
Released by Varese Sarabande December 12, 2000

Danny Elfman returns to the scoring front with the highly anticipated film starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe. While much talk about the relationship between Ryan and Crowe stole headlines, many film critics quietly boasted about the actual film. Others; however, were not so kind.  Overall, reactions to the score seemed to pose a similar duality in tone.

Danny Elfman's efforts of the latter Nineties took on a much subtler style: Goodwill Hunting, and Anywhere But Here are prime examples.  For some, like myself, the product of this change was magically entertaining.  At the same time, many fans of early Elfman scores such as Batman have been pining for his return to his more exciting and dramatic roots.  Proof of Life was heralded as Elfman's opportunity to make such a return. 

Elfman does develop a more aggressive score than I have heard from him in some time. It is a  diverse mix of percussions, synths, and acoustic instruments. This combination makes for an eyebrow-raising listening experience, but feels somewhat askew a part from the film. Proof of Life is not something one would listen to all day long and manages only scant moments of enjoyable music.

This particular combination of synthesized and acoustic instruments doesn't mesh as well as other composers seem to be able to deliver.  Particularly in the suspense sequences, the synthesized element is so strong and with such an edge on it that, in the end, proves too grating on the nerves.  The contrast between the natural and synthetic in Proof of Life is too strong to be enjoyable if taken in large doses.

For Proof of Life, Elfman relies heavily upon wood flutes and guitar as the "natural" elements of the score.  Danny Elfman does utilize these instruments to make the score somewhat approachable.  Unfortunately, he mixes in those edgy- synths which, intentionally, break the serenity or introspection of tracks like Alice Breaks Down (4), and likewise makes the track hard to listen to.

Tucked in among the myriad of synthesized mayhem and softer acoustic elements, there are signature Elfman sounds. The most recognizable might be the quick brass accents that were featured in scores like Mission: Impossible and Batman. Another familiar ingredient is the bass riff that occasionally, methodically, bumps away in the background.  Again, it hearkens back to scores such as Mission: Impossible or Dead Presidents.  Neither of these two famed components play a major role in the score however.  

The release from Varese Sarabande, while just over 30 minutes, is more than adequate for this particular score. The softer cues of this release are definitely the more enjoyable. They aren't the best the Elfman has to offer, but they far exceed the action/suspence material contained here.


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track Title Time

Rating

1 Main Title 5:54  ***
2 The Hostage Game 3:04  **
3 Plans to Catch 1:18  ***
4 Alice Beraks Down 2:12  ***
5 Bullet in the Head 2:23  **
6 The Miscarriage 2:12  ***
7 Escape 3:20  ***
8 The Rescue 3:37  **
9 The Finale 6:00  ***
 

Total Running Time

30:08  

 

 

 

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