Music By Clint Mansell Featuring Kronos Quartet
26 Tracks/Disc Time: 78:08
Biblical epics aren’t exactly a new thing in Hollywood with unforgettable epics such as “The Ten Commandments”, “Ben Hur”, “King Of Kings” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” amongst the many that have been released throughout film history. Darren Arnanofsky’s “Noah” is a rather cinematic take on the great biblical story on his calling and building the Ark before the great flood in which the Earth would be soaked by rain forty days and forty nights. Featured in the film is Oscar Winners Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly (their first re-teaming since winning for “A Beautiful Mind” a decade ago) along side Ray Winstone (“The Departed”), Emma Watson (“Harry Potter”) and Oscar Winner Anthony Hopkins (“Silence Of The Lambs”). The film was fairly well received and was just released on Blu-Ray and DVD this week.
Providing the music is Darren Arnaofsky’s usual collaborator Clint Mansell, who in their last collaboration was the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film, “Black Swan” starring Natalie Portman (in her greatest and Oscar winning role) and Mila Kunis (“Friends With Benefits”) writing a brilliant classical based score. Mansell has contributed stellar work on “Last Night” and the critically acclaimed thriller “Stoker”. For “Noah” Mansell channels almost the same style he used in his memorable score to “The Fountain” which Arnaofsky’ also directed utilizing the classical group, The Kronos Quartet (the same soloists that Oscar Winner Elliot Goldenthal employs) which brings a real classical, but more contemporary feel for the film.
The score features a huge orchestrial base that is at times exciting and enchanting and others, aren’t exactly new territory that we haven’t been to before with Mansell’s work. The scores’ best material is highlighted by tracks such as “The Fallen Ones”, “Make Thee An Ark”, “Everything Creeping Thing That Creeps”, “The Flood Waters Were Upon The World”, “The Spirit Of The Creator Moved Upon The Face Of The Water”, “Forty Days And Nights”, and “He Remembered Noah” which really are the best material of this score that really features some excellent performances by The Kronos Quartet as Mansell really balances the more spiritual material the score is based on. These are tracks that really bring out the best in Mansell as well as the film with some nice violin, and cello passages mixed with horns that really bring out the best this material has to offer. The rest however, is a really mixed bag of darker passages that the film really calls for but honestly, makes the album a slog to go through. At times, it takes away from the highlights I’ve mentioned and these are terrific tracks pretty much marred by over the top darkness that takes away from what would’ve been a brilliant score. I can understand that sort of material for a film such as “The Fountain” or “Black Swan” which were pretty much laced the core with it, but it was a melodic madness that was memorable. This isn’t and takes away from the best this score really has to offer which is roughly thirty minutes, if that.
Nonsuch’s album is very lengthy at nearly 80 minutes and there are moments where the score drags a bit due to its pretty long running time. There are moments that are off putting and there are others that are excellent. The score is overall a bit of a disappointment despite being original and very good in parts. I just simply cannot recommend this score for 30 minutes (if that) of otherwise excellent music. Reluctant thumbs down.