Music By Clint Mansell
Soundtrack Album Review
Milan Records/11 Tracks/Disc Time: 47:12/Grade: C
In the tradition of the excellent “Bad Lieutenant” by Director Abel Ferrara, the British film “Filth” which is based on the novel by Irvine Welsh was recently released on Blu-Ray and on Video On Demand recently and has gotten some stellar reviews. The film stars “X-Men’s” James McAvoy (in a brilliant performance) as Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a bigoted and corrupt detective who is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues including his partner Lennox (Jamie Bell, “Billy Elliot”) and fellow detective, Drummond (Imogen Poots, “Need For Speed”), Bruce sets about ensuring their ruin, right under the nose of unwitting Chief Inspector Toal. As he turns his colleagues against one another by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets, Bruce starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. With his past catching up with him including his missing wife, a serious drug habit, a kinky sex life and suspicious colleagues that start to take their toll on his sanity with an ending that makes the “Bad Lieutenant” a bit tame by comparison. I recently caught with this film and it is alot of fun and McAvoy is just brilliant.
Being caught up with the very funny and dark film, I had almost forgotten that British composer Clint Mansell had written the score for the film. Mansell had earlier this year scored the highly anticipated “Noah” as well as solid work on scores such as “Stoker”, “The Fountain”, “Moon”, “Faster” and the excellent, “Black Swan.” The score to “Filith” pretty much is in keeping with the film which features a bit of a rock progressive sound as if to say that with McAvoy’s character’s mind deteriorates Mansell’s score also does the same in a way along with some subtle string work that is very effective in the dramatic sense. The strongest asset is probably the subtle string material which actually gives the film moments of thought and rationality that the main character doesn’t have at all by the end of the film.
The progressive rock sound is the basis for McAvoy’s character’s out of control state which is instantly called on in the track “DS Bruce Robertson” that immediately sets up the theme that is surprisingly likeable and has a bit of 60’s like vibe to it which is very effective since the character pretty much lives in his own world throughout the film. This track also sets up other tracks such as “Home Is The Darkness”, which builds upon this theme both orchestrially and electronically with moody guitar and strings throughout the track and also is featured in the track “Robbo Turns Off The Gas” which is very frenetic and over the top with rock rhythms taking over as well as “Reeperbahn Madness.” The highlight of this album and score is the lengthy “Same Rules Apply” a fifteen minute track that develops all of its ideas ranging from the main theme to some very fresh material that I really enjoyed here that in parts feels like an action film scored by Elliot Goldenthal. Guitars, strings, drums. It’s like a progressive rock n’ roll ensemble that just builds and builds to an excellent close. Mansell also has the moments of subtlety and quiet that the film really needs from McAvoy’s antics. Highlighted by “Love Is Cruel”, “The Games”, which is a fun little comedy styled track, and “Smokey Bacon & A Kiss Goodnight”, which is very dramatic and melodic with some nice low strings and keyboards that give it some nice depth musically.
Milan Record’s album features just Mansell’s score which makes a for an interesting listen which is very effective within the film and off it, it does have some interesting moments as Mansell’s work usually does. But it isn’t quite as good as it really could’ve been. I think a more interesting approach would’ve been to take what did he had done on “Requiem For A Dream”, which this film resembles loosely and “The Fountain” then you would’ve had a moving and solid work that would’ve elevated the film. As is, it is not a bad score for what it is supposed to do and that is serve as transitions and push the story along than actually live as a living musical entity of its’ own. “Filth” is an interesting score and the film a great experience which isn’t to be missed. The music is definitely for fans of Mansell’s as well as that progressive and moody new age music. Thumbs down.