Music By Roque Banos
17 Tracks/Disc Time: 71:10
Remaking a film can be a rather ardious task, just ask the filmmakers of the recently released "Robocop". Now remaking a film on the level of 2003' unforgettable Koren thiller, "Oldboy" was a very daunting task much like "Robocop" was. Everything seemed promising when originally Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg was attached to direct the film with Will Smith starring, but that fell apart. The project received a second life with Spike Lee at the helm and Oscar nominee Josh Brolin starring in the film which seemed promising considering Lee's reputation as a storyteller and this was certainly up his alley. That is until the studio took the film away from him and cut it to a rather uneven 105 minute film instead of the 140 minute version that actually was more dramatic and the one that both Lee and Brolin prefer. The film stars Brolin as Joe Doucett, an advertisting executive that is kidnapped by a mysterious force and held captive against his will for 20 years in solitary confinement. One day, he's suddenly released and after training his mind and body during all of those years inprisoned against his will, Joe goes on a rampage to find out the truth behind his abduction with the help of a homeless advocate named Marie (Elizabeth Olson, "X-Men: Days Of Future's Past") after dispatching his jailer (Samuel L.Jackson, "Pulp Fiction") and the path of vengeance leading to a despicable, deranged psychopath named Adrian (Sharlito Copley, "District 9") who's the key to why this has happend to him.
While the film was a box office disaster, there's always something positive to take away from the film itself and in this case, it's easily the excellent musical score by Roque Banos. Banos, who's primarily worked in Spain and occassionally scoring films that have been released in the U.S. that include the brilliant crime-drama, "Sexy Beast", the haunting and unforgettable "The Machinist" starring Oscar Winner Christian Bale, in an Oscar calibur performance and the very successful remake of Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" that features one of the better horror scores you'd ever hear and one that made an impact last year without question. Banos is a composer that one that if given the right project will make a positive impact and his music for this film without question IS the only great thing about it.
From the get go, you know this is going to be a score with the pulsing beats and cool thematic material established in "Main Titles/One Man's Journey" that makes a few appearances later on in energy driven suspense tracks such as "Closing In", "I Will Find You", "Past Unrevealed","Bitter Sweet Revenge" and "20 Years After", that really establishes a comeuppance of Brolin's character and what he has become after his imprisonment and now filled with anger, rage and will stop at nothing to fulfill his quest for vengeance which Banos perfectly captures. Banos also adds an atmosphere of errie dissonance in his rather bombastic action tracks that really put on emphasis on electronics, cool driving guitar solos and a battery of percussion solos primarily featuring the taiko drums exhibited perfectly in the tracks "Mano A Mano", "Fight", and the lengthy and mood building, "Showdown" that pretty much features alot of the best thematic and suspense material that just topped on layer by musical layer to create one final memorable piece that is resolved with the track "Destiny" which features a nice mixture of the lush, melodic material with the hard driving action. In between this material which largely dominates the score, Banos has moments of humanity which he musically bestows on Brolin's character in the tracks "Dear Daughter" and "Don't Hurt Her" which features a more classical feel to it with emphasis on cello and piano to emphasis the longing and pain of the character not being able to see his daughter and the sadness the character has inside despite his rage.
Varese Sarabande's album features a very generous seventy minute album that really features a wealth of diverse material that shifts between suspense, drama and interesting action material featuring a modernistic effect for electronics, which features alot of solid themes as the music shifts from dark to light but in a remotely darkly atmospheric and rather grim setting. Banos was definitely the right choice for this film as Spike Lee usually works with jazz trumpet legend Terence Blanchard as his usual regular collaborator with the exception of his last two films. "Oldboy" could be easily dismissed (and rightfully so) as an empty headed and needless remake, but there's no disputing that the movies' lone shining and positive aspect is the music of the very talented Roque Banos, who deserves better, outstanding projects than this one. Recommended very strong thumbs up!