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Soundtrack review: Tears of the sun (Hans Zimmer – 2003)

Composer of the month Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer month

Soundtrack review: Tears of the sun (Hans Zimmer – 2003)



I liked “Tears of the sun”. I am a big Bruce Willis fan, and this movie about an US Navy SEAL mission amidst the civil war in Nigeria satisfied me. I liked what famous movie critic Roger Ebert said about it: “Tears of the Sun is a film constructed out of rain, cinematography and the face of Bruce Willis. These materials are sufficient to build a film almost as good as if there had been a better screenplay”. He sums up my feelings about the movie.

Among Hans Zimmer’s specific ethnic scores, the African ones were my least favorite. I couldn’t connect at all with “The lion king” or “Black Hawk down”. “Tears of the sun” is different. It has a sensitivity which always gets to me. The African instruments and vocal inserts soak this score with sadness. Hans was helped by long time collaborators Heitor Pareira, Lisa Gerard and Steve Jablonsky, who, just like on Pearl Harbor, makes his contribution felt. “The Jablonsky Variations on a Theme by HZ / Cameroon Border Post” is a magnificent cue which reminds me of both “Gladiator” and “Apocalypse now”. Rediscovering this particular theme is one of the highlights of Hans Zimmer month.

The score has four eight minute long cues, and Hans Zimmer if the master of long cues. The first one, “Small Piece for Doumbek and Strings / Kopano Part I “ is a wonderful meditative journey, a suave track where occasionally Lisa Gerard’s haunting voice deepens the mood. It is one of the few cues outside of “The thin red line” which evoke to me that unique atmosphere. This is a war score where, again, Hans Zimmer chooses to focus on the feelings inside rather than on the madness outside.

On the interlude “Kopano part II”, Heitor Pereira’s strings underline a beautiful and piercing complementary duet between Lisa Gerard’s voice and an African man’s voice. The combination is extremely intense.

“Tears of the sun” will end up among the nicest surprises I got during Hans Zimmer month. I hadn’t really paid attention to this score until now, despite my affection with the movie. This will surely change from now on and I can’t wait to listen to the longer bootleg…

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 43 / 47

Album excellence: 91%



  1. Yekeleni Part I / Mia’s Lullabye
  2. Small Piece For Doumbek And Strings / Kopano Part I
  3. Under The Forest Calm
  4. Yekeleni Part II / Carnage
  5. Kopano Part II
  6. Night
  7. The Jablonsky Variations On A Theme By HZ / Cameroon Border Post
  8. The Journey / Kopano Part III


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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