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Monday, April 09, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Number 23

Yes, I'm back - hope you all had a great Easter! The weather, in the U.K. at least, didn't let us down for once.

The Number 23
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Silva Screen SILCD1230 (UK)
9 Tracks 44:34 mins

Desperately seeking a hit, rubber-faced comic Jim Carrey turns to a straight role in this tale of a man's obsession with a book called The Number 23 that increasingly seems to be telling his own life story.
Harry Gregson-Williams is a composer with the power to delight, as in The Chronicles of Narnia, Shrek 2 and Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas, or to infuriate, with the likes of Phone Booth, Domino and Deja Vu, which, though they might be perfectly well suited to the films they supported, make for a lousy listen on disc. Unfortunately, The Number 23 falls into the latter category, although it is more listenable than some.
The composer mixes orchestra with electronics, with subtle use of voice here and there, like in his main theme, a nervy affair, which commences with an electronic pulse, not totally unlike that favoured by Alexandre Desplat (though admittedly not so annoying), and becomes ever more intense in the "Opening Titles." The cue does however end up more lightly as it flows to its conclusion. The following "Fingerling's Childhood" is another flowing piece, though quite sunny and innocent, even if it does end mysteriously.
"Suicide Blonde" is a lengthy cue, which goes through much development, after its industrial opening, going through melancholy, reflective, but also 'big and bad' moments, before ending tragically. The main theme returns at the end of "Ned," after frantic then fateful moments. "11:12 p.m." mixes it up with more melancholy string work, but also a return to the industrial beat, with a hint of middle-eastern rhythms along the way.
The second lengthy track is "Finishing The Book," which starts out propulsively, but then goes through mysterious, atonal and downright sinister moods, before some frantic action takes over, but then becomes more reflective, then suspenseful, with a reintroduction of the main theme. "Laura Tollins" also quotes the main theme, but is largely menacing and suspenseful as it builds to a crescendo. "Room 23" continues the menace and suspense, with the concluding "Atonement" featuring sad strings, which intensify, but then the cue turns mysterious before resolving itself with a return to the calm-after-the-storm feel created at the conclusion of the opening cue.
To conclude, it's not the worst score I've heard from the composer, and has some effective moments, but they just don't stick around long enough to appreciate. As for Carrey, the general opinion seems to be that he needs to stick to what he does best if he is ever to find that elusive hit.


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