Unlike some composers who jump right in as composers, Chris Bacon has spent most of his time in various positions in the music department, while only occasionally making his way over into full-on composer mode. With dubious initial composer credits (including Space Chimps and several TV movies) to go alongside his music department jobs in more high-profile films (The Dark Knight, Michael Clayton, Charlie Wilson’s War – things don’t get much higher profile), Bacon took a step up the ladder last year with the Helen Mirren/Joe Pesci indie Love Ranch. This year’s surprise hit Gnomeo & Juliet and soon-to-be-released Source Code are moving him up the ranks to a higher-end title and higher likelihood that he’ll be sought out as a composer and not just a music technician.

Unfortunately, the 48 minutes of music collected here for the Source Code score album are disappointingly lackluster, especially for what is being sold as an action-heavy thriller. From the first few seconds of the opening main titles it feels like someone forgot to tell the editors and mixers that this was an action score. For the most part, the orchestra feels subdued and uninterested. Or perhaps they’re playing this out like a piece of classical music. One way or another, the impression this music gives off is inexplicably unenergetic. This score might work for a slightly thrilling drama, but even then it would feel too subdued. Even when the tension seems to be rising, as in the fretful “Racial Profiling,” nothing much seems to happen in terms of score-work; the strings speed up a bit, but your heart rate doesn’t go with it.  A few times throughout the album it feels like Bacon is finally going to jump off the deep end (“Colter Follows Derek” and “Coffee Will Have to Wait”) but the jolt of energy is over almost before it begins.

The penultimate track, “Frozen Moment,” is undeniably beautiful and moving – but I would recommend buying this track on its own. As director Duncan Jones says in the liner notes: “Chris delivered a seventy piece orchestral score… in an extremely compressed time frame.” It’s clear that Bacon did that, but I’d say maybe they should have given him a less compressed time frame, because this collection of music didn’t do it for me.

Zach’s Rating: C-
Perfect For: Music that won’t interrupt anything you’re doing
Stay Away if: You’re looking to be drawn in

To purchase the score from Source Code, visit Amazon

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