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American Pastoral by Alexandre Desplat (Review)

posted Oct 25, 2016, 11:15 AM by Leo Mayr

American Pastoral
 is a crime-drama set in the 1960s. The film is the directorial debut for lead actor Ewan McGregor with Alexandre Desplat behind the music. While the film may or may not be completely worthless, Desplat has composed a more than solid score.

The fully orchestral score focuses mainly on calm, emotional scenes. A lot of the themes are dominated by a subtle piano playing over strings, but Desplat also relies on more traditional orchestral instrumentations. While some scenes evoke a sense of mystery and there are a handful of tense moments, the majority of Desplat's music is very calm and focuses on the emotions of the story. While there are not many moments that stand out, Desplat avoids the near static sounds used way too often these days. There's always something going on in the music. Desplat introduces a sufficient number of themes to make the experience varied enough, yet also connected through style in returning motifs. Except for a short action scene in "Chasing The Van", the score sticks to a very calm atmosphere until the tension starts to rise for the film's climax in "Swede Grabs Sheila" before returning to a more emotionally resonant resolution.

Alexandre Desplat delivers a very emotional score that underlines the film nicely. While there is not a whole lot of variation going on, it does serve its purpose more than sufficiently.