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Soundtrack review: Needful things (Patrick Doyle, 1993)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Needful things (Patrick Doyle, 1993)


“Needful things” is a movie based on a Stephen King novel, about a man who sets up a mysterious shop in a small town, a shop where apparently everyone finds whatever they need; with a twist…What I found was another beautiful Patrick Doyle score.
If we needed another proof that Patrick Doyle is a brilliant composer, we got it right here. This is not your normal film score. Madness is the key word for this. You’ll hardly find a creepy cue, or quiet one (“They broke the law” and “Just blow them away” stand lonely in that category); the theme is totally different. The inclusion of Grieg’s famous “In the hall of the mountain king” from Peer Gynt is not accidental. The whole score feels just like that piece; it has the same crescendo, the same furious and exciting rhythm.
“Needful things” is more of an opera. A lot of Patrick Doyle scores feel like concerts, but this one is an opera, with powerful choirs and orchestral madness, a beautiful and tireless composition that is infectious and exhilarating. I get such a pleasure listening to this score; it’s fun, it’s crazy and it’s playful. I feel like I’m racing, the music invites me to chase it. It’s pure energetic delight, and I never get tired of it. Cues like “Needful things”, ”More deeds”, “Art& the minister” and “Racing towards the apple throwing time” are vintage Patrick Doyle, part of his legacy, and are the type of music he does best.
The second half of the score (with the exception of “The devil’s here” and “End titles” is a bit of a letdown especially because it changes the pace. After such an awesome first half, what comes after the two classical interludes (Schubert playing Ave Maria and Grieg’s piece) is a little too quiet and not as interesting. I had high hopes from the 12 minute cue “The turning point”, but it never quite reaches its potential
“Needful things” is still, after more than 20 years, one of the scores that highlight what Patrick Doyle’s music is all about. It’s well worth a few listens.
My ratings:
Cue rating: 85 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 36/60
Album excellence: 60%
Cues to listen to:
The Arrival
Needful Things
Brian’s Deed
More Deeds
Art & The Minister
Gaunt’s Web
Racing Towards Apple Throwing Time
Ave Maria
In the hall of the mountain king
The Devil’s Here
Just Blow Them Away
End Titles
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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