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Soundtrack review: Dead again (Patrick Doyle, 1991)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Dead again (Patrick Doyle, 1991)


Dead again is another great film by Kenneth Branagh, and again a departure from his Shakespearean roots. This time, it’s a psychological film noir about murders, hypnosis and past life regression. I expected a low key and creepy score, but Patrick Doyle had something else up his sleeve…
This is an extremely exciting score and made for a surprisingly enjoyable listen. I don’t know about the movie, but Patrick Doyle’s music kept me alert, on my toes, looking over every corner, and also gave me a few moments of rest. There’s an alternation between deep, serious cues and crazy cartoonish tempos that works very well.
The frights are there in cues like “A walk down death row”, “Hightower house” and “Fate happens/Death of a mad son”. The last one especially is a jump and scary track, built like a little opera, packet with a choir, relentless percussion and mad strings. I love this track and I played it a couple of times just for fun. I imagined it as the soundtrack of a nonsense dream where you’re running from all sorts of allegorical characters.   
When the score gets serious, it’s really beautiful. There are a few orchestral cues that are vintage Doyle, just what the doctor ordered. “The woman with no name”, “Winter 1948”, “It never rains in LA” and especially “The door is closed” all sound like lovely pieces of a late autumn symphony.  The final track of the score, “Dead again” is a culmination of everything it brought.
At just over 30 minutes, the original release is not enough. Fortunately, there’s a limited 39 track release by La la land record that I’ll surely listen to, to see which themes are explored more deeply.
My ratings:
Cue rating:80 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 23/32
Album excellence: 74%
Cues to listen to:
A Walk Down Death Row
The Woman With No Name
Winter 1948
It Never Rains In LA
I’m Not Roman
Inga’s Secrets
Hightower House
Fate Happens/Death Of A Mad Son
The Door Is Closed
Dead Again
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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