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Confirmation by Harry Gregson-Williams (Review)

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:01 PM by Kaya Savas

There are few things greater than classic somber Harry Gregson-Williams, and with Confirmation we get exactly that. Harry’s style and voice as a composer is so unique yet he has varying styles and sounds depending on the film’s needs. We of course know his highly energetic electronic side that he built over his work with Tony Scott. We also know his grand orchestral side that you heard in Kingdom Of Heaven and Narnia. Then there’s somber Harry, which highlights films like Veronica Guerin and Gone Baby Gone. Confirmation is in that realm, with a score that is able to paint a character portrait with subtle precision yet retain that emotional resonance.

Confirmation is the story about Anita Hill and her claim that she was sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. The result of the proceedings that followed ignited the debate about sexual harassment in the workplace and turned Anita Hill into a national figure. Harry approached the music strictly from the character’s point of view. The score refrains from becoming manipulative and in that way doesn’t necessarily call too much attention to itself. But this restraint is necessary. If the music was overly thematic and saturated, the film itself would appear preachy and melodramatic. Harry’s skills showcase this nuanced approach that is steeped in his style, and the result is a score that truly brings the audience into the emotional state of the characters. The score still manages to flourish a bit with tracks like “Angela Wright” and “Paparazzi Assault”. These tracks help break up the structured approach of the music and give it a more non-mechanical/organic feel. In the end, the score is a wonderfully nuanced take on the political drama. It’s also worth noting that additional music was composed by Harry’s protege Stephanie Economou, who brings a welcomed female perspective to the music.

Confirmation shows how a skilled composer’s experience can handle a subject matter that would otherwise turn out to be melodramatic and forced. The nuanced approach in Harry’s signature style helps the audience connect directly with the character’s emotional state rather than comment overtly on the situation. This isn’t a score that will floor you or whisk you away with sweeping passages, but rather a score that is more introspective. The emotions are there, and they resonate. Confirmation is a great score that holds this political drama together.