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No Good Deed by Paul Haslinger (Review)

posted Oct 5, 2014, 11:07 PM by devon@filmmusicmedia.com

No Good Deed seems like it could be a fun-pulpy thriller of a film, but a single listen to the score by composer Paul Haslinger, and you get the feeling that it's deadly, deadly serious. As serious as a heart attack. One long repetitive-note-piano-smashing heart attack. Haslinger has found his forte in action-thriller scores and came to my attention with his effective ambient and cold score for the first Underworld in 2003. He has bounced to a few different genres, but has found his home in movies where people shoot people.

With my guilty pleasure enjoyment of Haslingers' The Three Musketeers score, I was hoping he would bring something different to the modern thriller genre. Unfortunately, he seems to be sticking to the same wheelhouse that most of the genre lives in, which alternates between stabs of strings and loud electronics with soft piano cues representing our (usually female) heroine/victim. All of this being said, the score could work well in the film and it sounds like a serviceable job, but there is little in the music that makes for a memorable listening experience. There is some interesting slow tension build in the short cue, "Watching Alexis", but you could listen to that cue and get a sense of the entire album - and it’s a minute long. Some nice percussion loops and interesting electronics make an appearance in the beginning of the action cue "It Is All A Game" which has an effective use of the Inception horn of doom. There is an attempt at a theme or motif of danger that appears in the latter half of "It Is All A Game" as well as "On a This Day", but it is never developed thoroughly and easily falls into the background with the rest of the score. The end cue, "Terry's New Beginnings" fits the cathartic end of the thriller vibe, but seems like a missed opportunity to create some identity for Taraji P. Henson's character.

The score could very well work in the film, but the sound is very generic and unfortunately brings nothing new to the table.