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Max by Trevor Rabin (Review)

posted Jun 24, 2015, 11:13 AM by Kaya Savas

Trevor Rabin has always been at the forefront of emotionally fueled anthem scores. His background as a guitarist lends his melodic approach perfectly for certain features, and I remember falling in love with his music growing up with his action scores of the 90’s. It’s been quite a while since we had a true and pure Rabin score. I would say going back to 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the last time we heard Trevor in full-form. But let’s not forget he took a step away from scoring for some time to work on his solo album Jacaranda, which was a brilliant reflection on himself. Between then we heard Trevor’s music in The DeNiro/Stallone starrer Grudge Match, the Renny Harlin dud 5 Days Of War, TV series like Zero Hour and 12 Monkeys, and finally we have a really great return to form for Rabin with Max as he reunites with Remember The Titans director Boaz Yakin.

Max may be the typical family drama featuring a dog, but it’s hard not to give in to the sentiment presented to you with the story of a marine dog whose owner dies in combat. Now Max returns home as a broken and traumatized dog who can only seem to bond with his owner’s surviving little brother. It’s a recipe for melodramatic emotions and forced tears, but thankfully the skilled Trevor Rabin handles the narrative with a light hand to craft a supremely heartwarming and uplifting score here. The fact that the score is short (around 40min) probably helps in making sure it doesn’t lay it on thick. I do wish the score would have been longer though as to develop a more connected flow. As it stands the music only comes in when it's absolutely essential for it to do so, and I think the score would have benefitted from some more connective tissue to bridge moments together. Never does the music overpower to manipulate your emotions, and the main theme Max gets is warm and simple. In fact the whole score is structured quite straightforward and simple. Tragedy opens the story and connects two lives looking to heal, they bond, outside conflict ensues, the protagonists conquer it and boom a warm happy ending. Rabin’s music accentuates all these moments with heart and adds dramatic weight when needed. By the end you might find yourself wanting to go on this short and sweet journey again.

Every now and then you need a little lift, a little warmth and a little sentiment. Max showcases Trevor Rabin’s emotionally fueled anthem style of writing by giving us something really enjoyable and heartfelt. The music never lays it on too thick, making the themes really resonate by gently tugging versus forcefully yanking. In a movie landscape filled mostly with overcoming super villains, destruction and chaos, it’s nice to have something that is simple and full of lift with nothing but good intentions. Max centers on the bond of boy and dog and we’ve seen the story in other forms before, but Trevor Rabin’s terrifically approached score is a real pleaser and a great return to form for the composer.