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Soundtrack review: The equalizer (Harry Gregson-Williams, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The equalizer (Harry Gregson-Williams, 2014)


Harry Gregson-Williams is one of the few composers who still have unlimited credit with me, due to a couple of scores from 10 years ago that are still among my favorites. I love “Spy game” and “Man on fire” so much that I’ve patiently forgiven and gone over his latest generic and boring offerings. Those scores included a string of Denzel Washington movies (all of them directed by the late Tony Scott) and the pair is together again in “The equalizer”.
The score starts softer than what I was expecting. It’s enjoyable, but too low key to get me excited in any way. They lack heart. After those two tracks, it’s back to generic action scoring in his easily recognizable style. It’s Harry Gregson-Williams by the numbers, even if slightly more enjoyable than his latest works. “A quite voice” almost made for a great cue with its piano use, and in some moments made me think of “Man on fire”. It borrows from cues like “You betrayed me” or “Bullet tells the story” from that score and I liked it. But when my favorite cue of a score gets that spot because of the emotional connection I have with a previous score, it’s a sign that “The equalizer” is in trouble.
There’s a 10 minutes long cue on this one, “It’s all a lie” and I sat through it hoping to see some development. It ends up as an uneven composition, with both exciting moments and boring ones, but the balance between them leaves it below the level of excitement needed to be counted as minutes of excellence.
“The equalizer” ends up in the pile where I already put “Unstoppable” or “The taking of Pelham 1-2-3”. It has the Harry Gregson-Williams signature sound, but it’s not a score I will listen to again anytime soon. The moments where it shines are too few and scattered. Fortunately, I found another cue I liked just where I wanted it, at the end. The addition of the violin was welcomed and raised this cue a little above the others. Sadly though, it deflated before the end…
My ratings:
Cue ratings: 62 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 4
Album excellence: 7%
Cues to listen to:
A quiet voice
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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