With such memorable small release titles under his belt as The Conspirator, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans, and Reservation Road, along with the recent surprise hit Dolphin Tale, composer Mark Isham has been been slowly building relationships with directors of small films that make a big impact. Director Gavin O’Connor’s Warrior, starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, is no different, receiving strong reviews but low box office numbers. And while the film itself is captivating, along with Isham’s socre during the film, this soundtrack feels a bit melodramatic and forced. It may be that that’s what happens when you listen to an epic sports score without the images and story that go with it, but tracks like “Sparta – Night One” which felt powerful in the theater feel completely flat here. The crescendos and resulting repetitive strings don’t tug on the same strings as they do when they’re placed behind fight scenes. This is one of the drawbacks of film scores in general – sometimes what we think sounds epic only sounds epic in the context of the film itself. On its own it feels light and even slightly empty.

To begin with I’m not a fan of the way Isham incorporates Beethoven’s “9th Symphony” into the opening track “Listen to the Beethoven.” It just feels too forced and I’ve definitely heard better (and expect more) from Isham. Though this track gets the score off to a bad start for me I still figured Isham, being the composer he is, could play catch-up. Unfortunately I never found myself getting into this score. It could be the lack of consistency in track length (there’s everything from a minute and a half to nine minutes here) or the lack of flow between tracks but something just feels off here. Even the percussion, a typically reliable area for sports/action films feels overpowered by the rising and falling strings. I think I’m supposed to feel some kind of exhilaration here (particularly in tracks like “Koba” that almost constantly rise) but nothing really catches me.

Overall, this is a subpar outing for Isham and an unfortunate score to such a compelling film. The final track, “About Today” by The National is immersive and memorable, but that’s mostly due to the depth and intensity of frontman Matt Berninger’s deeply emphatic voice. If you’re looking for a track to capture the tone of the film, check out this track on its own.

Overall Rating: C+

To purchase the score for Warrior, visit Amazon

Be Sociable, Share!