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Soundtrack review: 24 hours to live (Tyler Bates – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: 24 hours to live (Tyler Bates – 2017)

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“24 Hours to Live” is a 2017 American-South African action thriller film directed by Brian Smrz. Ethan Hawke plays a CIA agent who sacrifices everything for his employers, including his family and, ultimately, his own life. No sooner has he shuffled off this mortal coil, though, than he finds himself mysteriously resurrected for one last mission that’s timed to last exactly 24 hours. Once the countdown clock embedded in his arm reaches zero, he’ll once again nod off into an eternal slumber if he hasn’t completed his task. Before that happens, expect him to wreak bloody havoc on both his targets and his former CIA minders. Well I’m sold. And of course the right name to score this is the guy who wrote the music for the John Wick movies, Tyler Bates who has been touring with Marilyn Manson no less for years now. I am expecting fast paced pounding action from this one.

Naturally the composers wastes very little time and gets going with the pulsating pace right from the second cue “Check Point Shoot Out”; this piece gives me just what I wanted from this score and I hope the music stays like that this quite often thriller scores fall into a generic tense mood every now and then. I am having trouble connecting with a cue like “Mission explained” as a whole; there are ambient moments within it that I really love but I would have preferred shorter doses rather than a 5 minutes long uneven cue. I am taking what I do love from this score which is the overall dark and piercing atmosphere that is consistent with the mood of the movie; I am enjoying the short and concentrated cues more than the more complex longer ones. I also enjoy the melodic inserts and I wasn’t expecting it.

“Car chase” gets my blood pumping again with blistering action while “Sniper” brings the obligatory warm emotional intermission in a score like these; these two cues, side by side are the two ends of the tonal spectre of “24 hours to live” and for once I only like these extremes as a standalone listening experience. I also get this feeling as I the score goes on and I am impatient to actually see the movie and hear the music in context.

“24 hours to live” is the kind of score that has its moments as a music album but is much better suited for the on screen experience where story and acting make it feel more complete. I found some highlights in this but it’s not a score I will come back to.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 54

Album excellence: 19%

Highlights:
Check Point Shoot Out
Car Chase
Sniper
Boy Vision

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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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