JNH Thursday

Soundtrack review: Falling down (James Newton Howard, 1993)

“Falling down” is a score that will work for fans of the movie and for die hard James Newton Howard fans

“Falling down” is another one of those movies I watched countless times and know by heart. The story of Michael Douglas’ character’s descent into craziness is one of the most exciting and gripping thrillers of the 90s. There were parts of the movie where I really loved the music… I remember the moments when the main character would pass another level of rage and get more guns were very well marked by a surge in the music’s pace… I remember the lonely trumped and the snow globe sounds from the moments when D-Fens was thinking about his family and I also loved the end credits. This score has been a holy grail for me for quite some time. This year Intrada finally released a complete version of one of the more unusual James Newton Howard scores.

Just like the movie, the music is mostly uncomfortable and disturbing. James Newton Howard does a great job in relaying to us the troubled psyche of the main character. Just like him the music is often unstable. We get many cues which are weirdly atmospheric and every now and then a beautiful melody appears in the moments when he would think about his little girl and love would conquer hate. “Falling down” is one lonely score but I can understand it. “Other side of the moon” is one of the most heartbreaking tracks from this release. You can literally hear the main character’s mind blowing a fuse and changing direction…

“Falling down” is a score that will work for fans of the movie and for die hard James Newton Howard fans as an exploration of what the maestro can do. I don’t think it will be an easy or rewarding listen for anyone else.

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 33 / 67

Album excellence: 48%

Highlights:

Drive-By Shooting

Miracle Mile

Fitting Room

Other Side Of The Moon

Caretaker’s Family

Til Death Do Us Part

Falling Down (Revised)

Still A Cop (Revised Alternate)

End titles

 

About the author

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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