Director Doug Liman reunites with Bourne composer extraordinaire John Powell, and while ostensibly a drama about the Valerie Plame CIA agent case with colourful ingredients such as espionage, betrayal, and legal discourses, Powell sticks to his patented mix of percussion and rhythms to give the film an unstoppable momentum.
The film’s main theme is really just a a 3-note motif around which Powell adds pizzicato strings for irony, sampled voices processed to resemble blurry, rubbery dog barks, and a constant electric bass groove that reiterates the motif through most of the tracks. In “Joe’s Report”” the motif becomes an electrified chime, as well as a series of fuzzy guitar strums patted by peripheral metal chimes.
“Gathering Intel” is the most dynamic and Bournish cue, but every note is subdued, and the low tones are heavily saturated towards the end of the cue after a beautiful layering of metallic and acoustic textures.
Most of the albums cues run around 3 mins., and Powell’s inventiveness lies in re-expressing the triple note motif according to the changes in characters, and the conflicts that ultimately threaten the security of the couple. Cues like “Smaky” offer some lightness in harmonics, but the bulk of the score is designed to capture waves of subterranean actions that belie the superficial cleanliness and civility of the lead characters and Washington setting.
At 40 mins., the album offers an economical representation of the score, and Powell’s fans will be pleased with the composer’s heavy use of rhythms and textures and minimalist theme.
© 2010 Mark R. Hasan