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Sunday, July 19, 2009


Public Enemies
Music by Elliot Goldenthal and various artists
DECCA Records 270 9010 (EU)
16 Tracks 47:03 mins

Elliot Goldenthal fans have been waiting patiently for a new score from their hero and finally they have one and it's from the old combo of Goldenthal and director Michael Mann, who last collaborated on Heat. Their new film, Public Enemies, is yet another telling of the life and death of of gangster Jon Dillinger, this time played by Johnny Depp, and the dedicated G-man, Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) who finally brought him to justice.
DECCA Records has released a soundtrack album, which is unfortunately going to be a disappointment to those Goldenthal fans, as only 7 of the 16 tracks thereon feature his music, the rest being given over to songs of and evoking the period, including three numbers by Billie Holiday, plus a new cover by Diana Krall of "Bye Bye Blackbird." Of course, not having seen the film myself, I am unsure as to exactly how much original music Goldenthal provided, but with only around 17 minutes of his music on the album, one cannot help feeling short-changed.
The first Goldenthal track on the album is "Drive to Bohemia," which barely gets going before it's over, but which manages to sound somewhat portentous. "Billie's Arrest" opens nicely with solo piano, before the orchestra takes over in big, dramatic and ultimately tragic fashion. Piano returns in the tentative and hardly romantic "Love in the Dunes." "Phone Call to Billie" has an airy, but melancholy feel to it; whilst "Plane to Chicago," the longest score cue so far, is another large dramatic cue, which becomes ever more emotive as it continues. "Gold Coast Restaurant" starts off low-key, but ends somewhat dramatically, and the final Goldenthal offering, "JD Dies" ends the score in somewhat dirge-like fashion, gaining import as it continues to a sudden halt, presumably as Dillinger bites the dust (what do you mean, you didn't know - haven't you seen the splendid Warren Oates version?).
It's difficult to judge the full impact of this latest offering from the little heard from Goldenthal, based on the paltry amount of his music on this CD, so I guess we'll have to reserve our judgment until we have caught up with the film. Again, this is a case of an album which probably aims to please everyone, but ends up possibly pleasing no one.


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6:19 AM  

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