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Days Of Grace by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, Claudia Sarne & Shigeru Umebayashi (Review)

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:21 PM by Kaya Savas

Every now and then you come across a film that is uniquely structured around music. A film where music defines the story and is treated as the most important and defining aspect of the storytelling. Days Of Grace is such a film. This bold musical experiment pays off immensely. The films takes us to three different times in Mexico City all revolving around the occurrence of the World Cup. The time periods are 2002, 2006 and 2010. Each time period is handled by a different composer team. First up are the brilliant Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. Then for 2006 Atticus Ross along with Leopold Ross and Claudia Sarne provide their unique stylings. For the final act the great Shigeru Umebayashi provides his elegant voice.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis start off the the score with their signature somber sound. Their music borders sound design to some regard as it looses an identifiable structure. At times they use the sounds of frogs and insects to create this eery numbing sound even though for those who know those sounds usually find them to be soothing songs of the night. If you've heard their score to The Road then you will know what to expect. It's more in that style than say The Proposition or The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. For part 2 Atticus Ross and his team give the soundscape a more energetic intensity. The industrial sound Ross is known for is in full effect here, and I want to say I enjoy his section of score here more so than I did of his Trent Reznor collaborations for Fincher's past two films. The music retains his style and sound but it's way more structured than what you'd expect. Perhaps Leopold Ross and Claudia Sarne are responsible for taming Ross' signature ambience into something more graspable. This then segways to Shigeru Umebayashi's final act, which is a different experience altogether. A somber opening to an industrial middle leads to an elegant end. Shigeru Umebayashi's music is just beautiful. There is a real human connection that you get from it. His music does have some intense moments as well, but not necessarily in the way we heard in the first two segments. There's a sense of uncertainty in the music, and with that comes a hint of tragedy. The three sections are tied together with three versions of the song "Summertime". The three performers are Nina Simone, Janis Joplin and Scarlett Johansson. Only Scarlett's version is included on the soundtrack.

This was a breathtaking and unique musical experience with some of my favorite composers. The musical journey is a magnificent one, and this is an experiment that worked immensely. The music has so much coming from behind it that it leaves a lasting impression long after you've listened. If you're not a fan of any of these composer I can see you hating this score, but there is so much brilliance in each nuanced section. Together they do indeed form a complete work. The sprinkled dialogue and songs included help glue the pieces together and round everything out. This is a score not to be missed and should be experienced.