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Brighton Rock by Martin Phipps (Review)

posted Jun 3, 2011, 7:40 PM by Kaya Savas

Rowan Joffe who is the son of acclaimed British director Roland Joffe directs this sharp and taut adaptation of the Graham Greene novel. Martin Phipps delivers an intricate web of a score that plunges the listener into the smokescreen world of Brighton Rock. The score while dark and mysterious has an angelic quality that compliments the story and the character of Pinkie. The musical journey as a whole is a wonderful one as the listener is taken on a very interesting ride with small melodies and a fantastic third act conclusion.

The music for Brighton Rock is part film noire and part religious crusade. The musical palette paints an uneasy world using a simple blend of strings and deep brass. The score stays in the deep end of the sound spectrum and creates a bubbling and rumbling tension that is usually accentuated by certain solo instruments. Phipps actually uses several plucks on a banjo to add this curious quirk to the soundscape and enhance one of his motifs. The structure and execution is fantastic as this score was composed with magnificent precision to hit all the right beats. The final act is where I found the music to really step into the spotlight. As the music takes a nose dive into the climax we are left with a conclusion that while soothing also has a tragic quality.

The score is short at only 43 minutes, but the music has such a grabbing quality and an amazing identity. Phipps' music never overpowers but always commands your emotions. It's a wonderful noire score with a lot of intriguing elements. Hopefully I can encourage you to take a gander at these smaller lesser known scores because they will indeed surprise you.