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The Ides Of March by Alexandre Desplat (Review)

posted Dec 5, 2011, 9:32 PM by Kaya Savas


Alexandre Desplat is one of the best composers working today who has not won an Oscar. He sure as hell racks up the nominations and his workload usually guarantees at least one nomination this year. While is work for 2011 is incredibly intimidating I don't think Ides Of March will be one of the scores he gets nominated for. With scores like The Tree Of Life (likely to be disqualified) and Harry Potter there are many other greater examples of Desplat's talent. However that doesn't make The Ides Of March any less impressive.

Desplat manages to infuse great underscore for this political thriller, and that is no easy feat. When you have a film that is dialogue heavy the score becomes more important than ever. You need music to accentuate character and situations. Action and thriller scores are as simple as they come, but political thrillers? The composer here is required to make sure the audience doesn't fall asleep. Now I'm not saying The Ides Of March is boring, but political thrillers can get heavy sometimes and a good score can usually keep an audience involved. The music here not only displays typical genre characteristics, but when you have tracks like "The Candidate" you know you're dealing with a master composer who can supercharge standard scoring affairs. Desplat starts off innocent enough and then really puts the "thriller" in political thriller. His main motif to the score is fantastic and is guaranteed to get stuck in your head. The main motif being a march is a play on the title as well, which is brilliant.

Leave it to Desplat to score an extremely engaging political thriller score. With certain sections reminding me of his score for The Ghost Writer the music excels to heights that most other composers would fail to reach. By making the the central motif a march it really adds a new dimension. This score is extremely great, but when compared to Desplat's other scores this year it doesn't stack up. Now, that really says something about the level at where Desplat is scoring. If your worst score of the year is still close to a masterpiece level then I would say you're doing fine. It's anyone's year at the Oscars. With no single game changing score being composed and The Academy's love for Desplat I wouldn't be surprised to see Desplat walk up to the stage be it for this or for Harry Potter.
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