Carter Burwell has a rather prestigious list of credits to his name. This could have a great deal to do with the fact that he’s been collaborating with the Coen Brothers since their first feature, Blood Simple, meaning he provided score work for The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and the recent No Country For Old Men, among others. He’s also worked on the mind-bending Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman projects Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. This uniquely quirky resume gives Burwell the perfect background to fit the darkly comedic and explosive In Bruges.
And Burwell provides a stunning backdrop for the hitmen-on-vacation actioner. With quick and mysteriously quiet tracks intoning melodrama and intrigue, the score sounds almost like a period drama, until jolted with a hint of electric energy in tracks like “Shootout Part 1.” With each track averaging a little over a minute in length, the soundtrack leaves no piece dangling or running long. Short, contemplative pieces like “Ray at the Mirror” allow for introspection without overdoing it. And delicate but beautiful piano work like “The Last Judgement” showcase Burwell’s softer side.
But the album has more than just Burwell’s impressive score. There’s also the revelatory Townes Van Zandt song “St. John The Gambler,” which flows perfectly with Burwell’s touching score. The Dubliners appropriately add “The Walkmen” to the mix, and it’s only the final track on the album, “2000 Miles” (by The Pretenders), that feels a little out of place. But with 24 tracks to choose from, it’s not too hard to ignore this last song.
Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: A melodramatic, rainy day
Stay Away if: You’re looking for an uplifting score
Buy this on Itunes: “St. John the Gambler” – Townes Van Zandt