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CD: Jack Reacher (2012)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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January 4, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

13 tracks / (61:07)



Joe Kraemer


Special Notes:

12-page colour booklet with liner notes.

Comments :    

After toiling in TV movie land for more than a decade, Joe Kramer’s return to sleek theatrical films is a peculiar homage to the understated orchestral thriller scores of John Williams – notably his seventies work - where a short theme is spun and re-spun into brooding build-ups with just a handful of ‘big’ cues signifying face-to-face confrontation.

Kraemer’s palette is virtually all orchestral, which gives the score a large sonic scope even though most of the cues are designed to maintain an atmosphere of grinding suspicion, if not tease the audience with slow builds. One could argue the music of Jack Reacher is mostly teaser and subtext material, leaving the sonic boom factor to sound effects editors and designers, but even Kraemer’s best-known work – Christopher McQuarrie’s Way of the Gun (2000) – isn’t a score with big moments.

Running a hair over a hour, La-La Land’s CD presents a full package of music (including a bonus track + some liner notes by the composer on the score’s design), but it’s a tough sell to action and Cruise fans because of the score’s focus on being constantly furtive. With no bombast or extended fixations on grimness – as typical of Howard Shore’s Se7en (1995), or his mini-masterwork The Game (1997) – the enjoyment in Reacher comes from its quietness (not to mention Bruce Botnick’s engineering), and Kraemer’s lovely colours using banks of brass. Sounds have a disquieting sheen, yet like a seventies score, the retention of some harmony continually recaps the central character’s persona for audiences; and like the scores of that decade, Reacher also demonstrates the variety of dread and drama that can be wrought from just a pair of notes, and much ingenuity.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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