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United 93 by John Powell







United 93 (Soundtrack) by John Powell

United 93
Composed by John Powell
Varese Sarabande Records

Rating: 7/10

Buy United 93 by John Powell  from


Listen to this soundclip of United 93The End (347 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of United 93Dedication (355 kb)


“I cannot recommend “UNITED 93” as a pleasant listen. Nor can I deny it as a notable album. JOHN POWELL succeeds commendably with an inarguably difficult task, . . .”

Powell remembers 93
Review by Steve Townsley

When Paul Greengrass directed the first of what was to be two major films concerning the events of September 11th, 2001, he secured the talents of JOHN POWELL as composer. Powell and Greengrass collaborated previously on “THE BOURNE SUPREMACY”, when Greengrass took over the franchise from director Doug Liman. Greengrass’ film, “UNITED 93”, focused on the events that brought the fourth plane, whose ultimate destination was not an iconic national building, but a field in Pennsylvania.

Writing this review is difficult, because everyone has their own opinion and emotions regarding the events of that day. But if merely remembering it is difficult, the task of making the film and composing the score for UNITED 93 cannot have been much simpler. Many people questioned whether the world needed or wanted a film about that day, but whatever decisions were involved, the film was made.

Sadly, this is no contrived Hollywood plot device, with no happy ending to playoff with grand fanfare. To provide a score about these events is extremely delicate, to use an extreme understatement. This film is a drama. This film is also a horror. There is action, and there are heroes. There is tragedy and loss. There are several directions the score could go, but very few that would provide the right amount of respect and integrity. There is no cheesiness to this music—none at all. Powell’s approach is very sobering. There are no “evil” themes here, only moments of ominous tenseness. Powell has not composed any heroic power-anthems, only straightforward, percussive action. This score is not an easy listen, nor is it one that is highly thematic, or even memorable. Powell plays it straight-laced, even though we want to feel something.

Powell begins to conclude the score with a 10 minute cue entitled “Phone Calls”. We do not need liner notes to understand the significance of this cue. The cue pulses to the last minute, when the beating stops, and gives way to a wordless vocal, calling out softly to the last. The final two tracks on the CD are the most unique on the entire album, and they are something of a bitter gift. “The End” is a terrifying tragic cue, that does not linger, only builds and builds, and then forgivingly, ends suddenly and briefly. “Dedication” is a quieter, more pensive cue, that is perhaps reminiscent of Thomas Newman or Lisa Gerrard, and has that air of familiarity about it, but still provides an element of uniqueness.

I cannot recommend “UNITED 93” as a pleasant listen. Nor can I deny it as a notable album. JOHN POWELL succeeds commendably with an inarguably difficult task, and he has achieved a landmark score that challenges listeners, though probably will not invite many to the film music genre.

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Prayers 6:02  
2 Pull the Tapes 4:14  
3 Take Off 3:07  
4 2nd Plane Crash 2:27  
5 Making the Bomb 3:57  
6 The Pilots 1:21  
7 The Pentagon 1:43  
8 Phone Calls 10:49  
9 The End 5:50  
10 Dedication 3:51  
  Total Running Time 43:22  




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