La-La Land Records
39 Tracks/Disc Time: 78:24
Mystery scores and mystery films are very tricky thing to pull off. It's rare that such as film such as "Dead Again" does it quite well. The film which was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who made a sensational splash which his ode to Shakespeare in "Henry V" which earned well deserved Oscar nominations and recently directed the hit films "Thor" and "Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit". This film was the first American film by the director in which he stars as Mike Church is a Los Angeles private detective who specializes in finding missing persons and takes on the case of a mystery woman who he calls Grace (Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"). She is suffering from amnesia and has no memories of her own. She keeps having nightmares involving the murder of a pianist, Margaret (also played by Thompson), by her husband Roman Strauss (also played by Branagh)in the late 1940s. In an attempt to solve the mystery about these nightmares, Church seeks the help of Madson (Derek Jacobi) who is an antiques dealer with the gift of hypnosis and then performs a hypnosis session that will soon begin to reveal some eventful surprises. The film was a commercial critical and box office hit that would propel Branagh to other star studded projects such as "Much Ado About Nothing", "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" and "Hamlet".
While the film had its beautiful noir quality, it was aided by the stellar work of a newcomer to Hollywood who also made a sensational Oscar nominated splash much like the films' director did with "Henry V" and that is the work of Patrick Doyle. Doyle, who had come off scoring the Disney adventure "Shipwrecked", was primed to record his first American movie score in Los Angeles and provide some wonderful, suspenseful and dramatic passages that would make "Dead Again" a solid score that would catch the attention of renowned director Brian DePalma years later for the brilliant, "Carlito's Way" starring Oscar winner Al Pacino, which become a favorite score of many.
The score to "Dead Again" mixes alot of atmosphere and mystery beginning the percussion rumbles of "The Headlines" which plays out like a darkly hued waltz for brass and aggressive strings. This theme would play itself out throughout the score in various different guises from frenetic writing to dramatic mystery that is very thematic. Like the film, Doyle scores the film in two ways: the first is for the moment in modern day Los Angeles with Mike and Grace which is introduced in tracks such as "Mike Meets Grace/Hang In There/Mike and Priest Argue", "Mike’s Flat/Mike Says Goodnight", "First Hypnosis", "The Woman With No Name", "The Halves Of The Same Person", and "Grace Hears the Music/I’m Scared, Mike/So What’s My Name?" and the second is for the flashback scenes that take place in Winter 1948, which serves as a parallel to the main story of identity that include "Winter 1948", "Roman’s Mask", "He’s a Nobody/The Telephone/Inga And the Coat". and "I’m Not Roman". Each half of the score features an elegance and at times, romantic quality that even in its most aggressive state, Doyle doesn't lose sight that this isn't just murder/mystery, but one with a deeper, thought provoking quality to it. Doyle's major pay off is the last half of the score in he displays his most aggressive and passionate writing that would later show up in scores such as "Needful Things" and "Carlito's Way". "The Wallet/Do Her, Man!/Don’t See Mike", "Hello! Hello!/You Don’t Know Anything/It All Went to Hell/Inga’s Secrets", "Hightower House", "Fate Happens/Death of a Mad Son" and "Door Is Closed" are what make this score so good. Like the track "Hightower House" for example, Doyle just goes all out with the main theme and just goes musically crazy and exciting with it. Rumbling percussion, brass and strings just really elevate the music from being just standard run of the mill suspense. It is engaging and makes the film that much better with it and for it. The album ends with a reprise of the main theme featured in the opening track in "Dead Again" in a more romantic setting that really lightens the mood considerably with elegance.