Bel Ami is the story of a penniless soldier who moves his way up in Paris by manipulating wealthy women thus creating lust, heartbreak, anger and greed amongst everyone. Indian composer Lakshman Joseph De Saram teams with veteran composer Rachel Portman for this absolutely great score. The main theme sets the stage for the world of the film. The music has class and a prestigious quality to it, but there is a mischievous undertone to it all.
The score flows extremely well and the blending of the two composers' style works extremely well. The first half of the score has a lighter tone as it slowly spirals into a twisty deceitful tale. The central theme is very grounding if maybe overused a tad, but it sets the score in motion and keeps it motion. The period feel of the music doesn't make it feel gimmicky, which can happen in some period films. They try too hard with the instrumentation and it literally becomes a gimmick. That's not the case here as the instrumentation does give a sense of time but doesn't lose character. It plays the character emotions very well. You can grasp the emotions of the story and the characters very easily, but as a listener you may not feel those emotions. This is isn't a score that transposes itself onto the listener, and in most cases I would consider that a negative. However, I felt very content observing the music and not necessarily participating. It was as if a play was being performed on stage to my ears. The score is tidily wrapped up while returning to that great central theme.
This is a great score that pairs two very strong voices in the film music world. While Laksham is not a household name yet I'm sure you'll be hearing more of him. Rachel Portman is of course one of the greats and it's always a joy to hear her talents behind a score. Bel Ami is something worth discovering and experiencing. I found myself not really reacting to the music with my own emotions, but that isn't to say that I didn't enjoy experiencing it. It's a lovely and well executed score with plenty of layers.
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