Music By Benjamin Wallfisch
Varese Sarabande VSD-7241
12 Tracks/Disc Time: 46:16
"This review is dedicated to loving memory of Paul Walker. May God bless your soul."
Writing a review for this score is very tricky thing and the reason I say that is that we sadly lost the film's main star, Paul Walker in a tragic accident. How could I come up with a review for a score for this and this not an easy thing considering the circumstances and especially to the legacy of Walker in trying not to take advantage of a tragic situation such as this one. So now, it seems like it's been enough time that has passed to write something in a positive light. The "Hours" is the directorial debut of writer Eric Heisserer ("The Thing") that stars Walker as Nolan Hayes who's in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hits, where his pregnant wife Abigail (the always lovely Genesis Rodriguez, "Man On A Ledge") gives birth prematurely and dies during the birth of their child.With the baby is in critical condition, it has to be kept in a neonatal incubator and when the hurricane strikes, all the power goes out and everyone in the hospital leaves. Nolan stays behind because the baby can't be moved so he has to take care of his baby by making sure the ventilator stays on. And because there's no power, the only power source is generator that he has to crank every few minutes. So he has to stay awake while waiting for someone to come for them as they soon start to battle looters and survivors seeking refuge.
The film has generated positive reviews all around and in particular Walker's performance (his penultimate) which is pretty much a one man show for most of the film and it is very compelling and earnest. A shame that we lost the talent of his calibur way too soon, but his legacy will live on happily. The film is helped immensely by the powerful score written by Benjamin Wallfisch, a relative newcomer who's orchestrated for the likes of Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli including the memorable dramatic score for "Atonement" which won the 2007 Best Original Score Oscar. Wallfisch, also has written a few scores of his own including the massive "Conquest 1453" which was a powerhouse in itself.
The score for "Hours" goes two ways: the first being, a dramatic score utilizing cello solos and the second being, a tense rhythmic action score that still does keep its' dramatic base in tact. "Hospital" opens the album with a mix of rhythmic electronics and tense string work that is very aggressive and is the basis for the later half of the material of the second half of the score. There's subtle moments of drama in "Tell Me She’s Fine" that is very poignant and quiet until it shifts to a darker more tragic tone. Wallfisch adds more layers of drama and tension in "Searching For Abigail" that puts more emphasis on a small ensemble and follows with even more tension in "Evacuation" were the electronics really kick into gear like the opening track and leads into the tracks "Bad Battery", "Looters", "Generator Room", and the major action highlight, "Helicopter", mixing in a battery of electronics, percussion and aggressive string work. "Story Of You" is another terrific highlight of this score where the drama just completely dominates the track and sparkles full of wonderful warm melodies as Walker's character takes the time to share with his baby daughter how she came to be in one of the more important scenes in the film and showcases Wallfisch's flare for the dramatic in a positive way. "46th Hour" ends the album on a high note reprising the scores' dramatic material in a positive light and giving the score proper closure in somewhat of a happy ending.
After I listened to the album twice, I started to pick up some deeper layers working within the score that make it very solid and sounds a little bit like his Marianelli at times and that is a very good thing. This score is a coming out party for Wallfisch, who finally gets at major crack at U.S. film and does a very solid job which will no doubt lead to more films here in the future. "Hours" is a very solid debut for Wallfisch on the Varese Sarabande label and will probably be the first of many more in the future if he keeps up the solid work. Recommended Thumbs up.
Benjamin Wallfisch would like to dedicate this album to the memory of Paul Walker (1973-2013).
Proceeds will go to Paul Walker's relief effort organization, Reach Out WorldWide http://www.roww.org