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Soundtrack review: Fair game (John Powell – 2007)

Composer of the month John Powell month

Soundtrack review: Fair game (John Powell – 2007)



“Fair game” is a biographical spy starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. I am reviewing it as part of John Powell month. He was approached to write this core by the director after they had worked together on “The Bourne Identity” .

Though written after Bourne, this score feels and sounds like a prequel to that composition. I hear the seeds of the pulsating Bourne scores, but in a very incipient phase. There wasn’t a lot for me to enjoy in this one. The action music is quite generic; reminding me of what has plagued Harry Gregson Williams’s compositions of late. We get the same background action and suspense sounds without any identity or cohesion. There’s no trace of a theme in this score and the cues are rather hard to sit through. when they are not generic action tracks, they are downright experimental and we get pieces like “Smaky” or “Run up to war” that don’t even sound like cues, more like sounds and effects mixed together to fill a couple of minutes. There an attempt at a longer track, the 6 minutes “Uncomfortable love”, this ends up as just uncomfortable.

The only thing I get from this score are the shades of heart it shows in “Bruises”, the only remotely melodic track of “Fair game”, and the tense atmosphere. This is one of those scores that gets out of the way of the movie and lets people focus on what’s going on on screen without any intention to induce feelings.

Cue rating: 57 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 0 / 40

Album excellence: 0%



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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