Marc Streitenfeld’s career is a fascinating one. He started as an assistant to Hans Zimmer, and moved up the ranks as a music editor, supervisor and advisor. Some of those early roles as a supervisor were on Ridley Scott films such as Black Hawk Down, Matchstick Men and Kingdom Of Heaven. This led to one of the most unique changing of the guards as Ridley Scott ended his long-time collaboration with Hans Zimmer and went with Streitenfeld. In fact, every single one of his scores prior to this has had Ridley Scott involved in some fashion be it as director or producer. We don’t know what happened on Prometheus, but we can assume there were some creative differences as Harry Gregson-Williams was brought on to add a main theme and do some additional writing (in the same way he came onto Exodus). The Scott/Streitenfeld era came to an abrupt end. So how did Marc do in his first post-Ridley score? Well, quite fine indeed.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Marc’s music. He is a unique voice in this industry, never has his music felt part of the mold. After The Fall is a very cliched film about a guy who is having financial trouble so he turns to armed robbery to make money for his family. Breaking Bad did a way more interesting character exploration of morality and genre craftsmanship with style than something like this straight to video type of movie. Despite the narrative limitations, Streitenfeld executes the story quite well. We witness the spiral downward of a character who is trying to do right by doing wrong. The score has limited function at a slim 32-minutes, but Streitenfeld is a master of setting mood and tone. He also is a master at evoking emotion through reflective thought. In other words, creating an existential reflection in your own mind. If you’ve never listened to The Grey then I strongly urge you to listen to that score (and watch the film) before diving into this. You can tell first-time director Saar Klein probably temped this film with Streitenfeld’s masterpiece of a score to The Grey. The whole thing feels like Marc is dancing around that old score of his, gently dipping the paint brush into the existential tragedy of The Grey and finding a new way to structure it here. Does it work here? Yes. But not as well as it did in The Grey. The score does find a way to come to a very satisfying emotional resolution after a bit of stylistic meandering. It’s appropriate that the best track on this score is “Home Sweet Home”, which is also the longest track at over 4-minutes. It shows that music needs room to grow, and that Streitenfeld can do amazing things if given the canvas to do so.
Marc Streitenfeld’s After The Fall shows what the composer does best. I really love his music and the way he approaches scoring. Something about his style resonates so deeply. It’s nice to be able to be immersed in the Streitenfeld sound once again even if his first post-Ridley score is nothing notably different or better than what we’ve seen him accomplish in the past. After The Fall feels like a slimmed down version of The Grey, but it still works. I’m probably forgiving more of the score’s limitations simply because I’m just happy to have a new Marc score for the first time in 2 years. I hope Streitenfeld falls into another groove with a musically driven director that will allow him to work unhinged on some great projects. This composer can do great things with the right material, and even do decent things with not so good material such as this. For that, After The Fall is worth your time.
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