- Review by Kaya Savas - 4/19/18
Paterno sees Al Pacino reuniting with director Barry Levinson for this film that focuses on Joe Paterno amidst the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Levinson also reconnects with sibling composers Evgueni Galperine & Sacha Galperine. Previously, the two brothers scored The Wizard Of Lies for Levinson. For Paterno, Evgueni Galperine & Sacha Galperine achieve an effective and intricate score that takes us into the unraveling world of a college sports icon.
Paterno is a unique blend of being a portrait score mixed with being a historical event score. The music here manages to build Joe Paterno as a character for the audience to relate to, but is also incorporating so much of the facts and events that are taking place around our central character in the story. Evgueni and Sacha ended up sampling a lot of traditional and classical instruments and then manipulating them in ways that would have been too hard for an orchestra to play traditionally. By doing this they have successfully crafted a narrative that perfectly compliments the unraveling of Joe Paterno’s life as the scandal unfolds. The score starts bold and strong, but we feel the shape of certain instruments change as it progresses. The narrative shape of the score never unravels though, and in fact there is a nice rhythmic structure to some of the tracks that utilize percussion like a ticking clock. The music always feels like it’s closing in around you, and that is a supremely effective approach for this story and character.
Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine have achieved a very successful score that crafts who Joe Paterno is, and then allows the audience to feel his world crumble around him amidst the sexual abuse scandal of Jerry Sandusky. The music evokes the right tone and keeps us where we need to be, and that is right along Joe Paterno as he experiences this. While the score is short and doesn’t leave much room for a deeper emotional connection, it still manages to grasp us on a visceral emotional level. Paterno is a finely tuned musical narrative that enhances the film’s storytelling as a whole.