Film scores

Soundtrack review: London has fallen (Trevor Morris – 2016)

london
If you like Trevor Morris’ music and enjoyed the first score you might like this one even better. Another exciting and entertaining effort from one of the best composers around.

“London Has Fallen” is a 2016 American action thriller film directed by Babak Najafi and written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Chad St. John, and Christian Gudegast. It is a sequel to Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen and stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman. I loved the first movie, it’s my favorite “Die Hard” clone since the original. This time, In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders. Trevor Morris wrote a cracking score for the first one and I couldn’t wait for the sequel.

The main theme is a surprise to me. The male voice in the background makes me feel of an African influence in the music. The cue “London has fallen” reminds me of James Newton Howard’s “Blood diamond” score. I like a restrained and emotional beginning like this. Trevor Morris is a very intelligent composer and he knows how to create a musical atmosphere that fits the plot. If the first score was explosive and American patriotic from the first second this second chapter is more stealthy and alert; the beginning of the score makes the think of a hidden plot rather than an all-out attack. “Bourbon and poor choices” is the first wink towards the visiting Americans. There’s a gust of melancholy in the music that helps me connect very easily with it.

The rhythm of the score is fast paced; the cues are short and come in flashes as if the action is fragmented and made of twists and turns. Action cues alternate with inspirational ones like “Motorcade / Marine one lands”. There are only two long pieces: the “London attacked” piece I was waiting for and the 12 minutes long “Rescuing Asher”. These two cues represent best what I love about Trevor Morris’ music: the powerful and intense sound, the pulsating motifs, the interplay between electric guitar and percussion, the suffocating buildup. This guy knows how to write action. I am excited to listen to these cues as if I was watching the movie itself and I cannot wait to hear them in context. I nod my head and bang on imaginary drums while listening to “Rescuing Asher” and I am rooting for our invisible hero to pull it off.

“London has fallen” has something of the rugged darkness of “The dark knight rises”. The percussion that’s usually the favorite weapon of Junkie XL makes this score even more appealing to me and I keep turning the volume up as my pulse rises. “I hate funerals” reprises my favorite motif from the first movie and connects the two scores very well.

If you like Trevor Morris’ music and enjoyed the first score you might like this one even better. Another exciting and entertaining effort from one of the best composers around.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 44 / 58

Album excellence: 76%

Highlights:

London Has Fallen

Spotting Barkawi

Bourbon and Poor Choices

Nursery

Motorcade / Marine One Lands

London Attacked

Marine One Crash

Jacobs’ Death

Right Under Our Noses

Rescuing Asher

Hand Fight and Hand Grenade

Let’s Get Outta Here

I Hate Funerals

Reciprocity

Resignation Letter

End Titles / Credits

 

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).

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment