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John Wick by Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard (Review)

posted Nov 2, 2014, 9:49 AM by Michael Hollands
 
John Wick
is the latest action thriller starring Keanu Reeves. He portraits a hit man that eventually quits upon meeting a woman he falls in love with. Five years later, everything that means something to him, is taken away under tragic circumstances. Subsequently, he comes out of his retirement, seeking revenge by tracking down the people that crushed his world.
 
In order to support a movie that displays such a tragic turn of events, the director hired the composing team of Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard. A film always requires a huge team effort and to make everything work, you not only have to find the right people to work with, but the communication is a huge and essential factor.
 
It is tremendously difficult to find the right tone for a film. In the case of John Wick, the story suggests a dark and gloomy style. This was certainly captured by the composing duo, yet I feel this is the obvious way of doing it. The music isn't very thematic, yet it has a certain amount of energy and coolness. The score's electronic touch is big and we also receive some heavier guitar writing to support the action scenes.
 
In addition to the score, the album also contains material by other artists. “In My Mind” by M86 & Susie Q is a really cool song. The electronic dance music project Le Castle Vania has also found it's way to the album with a couple of tracks.
 
I am afraid there is not much to say about this album. The music lacks depth and there is little narrative structure. Some pieces, for instance, “Warehouse Smack Down and “Dock Shootout” indeed represent some of the album's best tracks, even if some sounds in there are just a bit too strong. In this case, some of you might say it was exactly the right way of telling the story, but as I said above, the obvious approach isn't necessarily the right one. Writing music is a difficult task. As a composer you can go the electronic way and fail. You can write a huge orchestral score and also not find the right mood. You could combine electronics and orchestra and still not get it right. In the end, it is not about the amount of notes a composer writes, it is about finding the right ones.