The Life Before Her Eyes

Following up his acclaimed House of Sand and Fog adaptation, Ukranian director Vadim Perelman has adapted for the screen an equally depressing and dramatic novel by Laura Kasischke: The Life Before Her Eyes. Centering around two high school girls being forced by a gunman to choose who will live and who will die, the film stars Evan Rachel Wood and Uma Thurman as the same woman at different points in her life. After making use of James Horner’s composing skills in House of Sand and Fog it’s no wonder that Perelman has again chosen to tap the Academy Award winner for another moving score.

Opening with the slightly unnerving and quietly sprawling “An Ordinary Day,” Horner’s latest score is full of darkly synthesized undertones for a film equally filled with dark undertones. A slowly played piano provides most of the instrumentation throughout, though there are often eerie strings backing up the piano solos. Most of the notes are relatively high, allowing for a constant feeling of tension and unrest. As the entire film is centered around a single scene, so is Horner’s score centered around a central theme that is present throughout in the slow rise and fall of his score. The songs easily bleed together in a medley of melancholy emotions that weigh heavily on the listener and provide a well-earned backdrop to the intense drama being played out on screen.

The later “Two Lives Slowly Converging” is the most rhythmic of the album, driving unstoppably along at a slow but determined pace. Horner’s work can’t be classified in a particular genre as he’s been all over the boards with Braveheart, An American Tale, Star Trek II, Titanic, and Willow, but this particular score manages to be dark and dramatic without becoming dense or looming. The choice to go with such a sparse sound mixture (mostly piano) pays off in the end and simplicity of the score drives home the complexity of the issues at hand. The final track, “Young Diana’s Future – A Future That Could Have Been…” cleanly wraps up the score with a solid and pounding drive that builds to the breaking point and then settles down for a final minute and a half of calm reflection.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: Giving you the vibe that something bad is about to happen
Stay Away if: You’re looking for something upbeat
Buy this on Itunes: “Diana – A Future to Be” (the light piano is strikingly beautiful)

To purchase The Life Before Her Eyes score, visit Amazon

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