"A Single Shot"
Music By Atli Orvarsson
7 Tracks/Disc Time:42:27
"A Single Shot" is one of those films that tried and very successfully to emulate the style of Oscar Winning Directors Ethan And Joel Cohen. Director Daniel M. Rosenthal manages to evoke the atmosphere of the pair which really transcends through the film's star, Sam Rockwell in another brilliant performance. The film based on the novel by Matthew F. Jones, who also wrote the screenplay revolves around the tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon (Rockwell) and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood. The film co-stars William H.Macy ("Fargo"), Ted Levine ("Monk"), Jeffery Wright ("Syriana", "Shaft"), Jason Issacs ("The Patriot") and Kelly Reilly. The film debuted briefly in theaters and now is on the digital on demand circuit with the eventual Blu-Ray and DVD releases to follow.
With a film that revolves around atmosphere and moods, you need a composer who is willing to adapt and make those moods into something that's either harsh or tranquil and occasionally, combine both to the advantage of what's on screen. Entrusted with this monumental task is the work of red hot composer, Atli Orvarsson who's coming off the successes of "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" and "Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones". Orvarsson's tone for the score is exactly what the film is, moody atmosphere and plenty of suspense backed with moody avant garde effects that fits the film like a glove. Utilizing a chamber sounding orchestra augmented by keyboards and strings, Orvarsson's work is very solid in what its' intended to do and that is create tension and suspense.
The score a relatively brief one at over forty minutes simply plays more like a concerto in atmosphere immediately established by the dark, tense moods from the opening three tracks "A Single Shot", "Opening" and "Remembering". Orvarsson doesn't stray too far from what he's set out to accomplish to make the film better and in these tracks which kind of play like a twisted tango inverting itself into spirals of music darkness. The second half of the album is dominated by a suite of music in which Orvarsson calls "The John Moon Variations" based on the plight of Sam Rockwell's character. "The John Moon Variations: Movement 1: The Shot", "The John Moon Variations: Movement 2: Late Night Call" and "The John Moon Variations: Movement 3: Showdown" all play in unison filled with as must tension as it has already been established early on. The build up to these is just clearly intense with "Movement 3" being the best of the bunch and is inspired by the work of Howard Shore, which is definitely a good thing. "Finale" is definitely the highlight of the score which offers some moments of light melodic material after pretty much going through the rigors of a tension filled musical atmosphere for a little over thirty minutes. The main theme gets a light touch but still ritaining its' dark beauty.
MovieScoreMedia/Kronos' album is a pretty good, tense filled score that really does emphasize suspense more than anything else. It does a solid job for its' musical intentions, but for the most part I doesn't quite work for me because there really isn't anything light to really run with that would constitute any type of warmth. Then again this isn't "Fargo", but for what it is supposed to do, it does work as Orvarsson's score is a pretty accomplished work. As listening experience, it's a score you really have to dive your time with because it's way too tense. On that none, I will give it a reluctant thumbs down and just barely because I was really up and down on this one because of its' good moments and ideas.