I’m such an Alexandre Desplat fan boy if there is such a thing. I mean, I’m not the only one. Whoever created this Tumblr that pays tribute to the film composer is right on the money, or so its homepage says: “It all started with ‘Birth,’” referring to the creepy 2004 Jonathan Glazer film about a widow’s (Nicole Kidman) incestuous relationship with her dead husband reincarnated as her son. (Trailer here.)
The movie itself isn’t all that mind-blowing, with the exception of cinematographer Harris Savides’ seductive shots of the woman’s uptown Manhattan apartment building and, of course, Desplat’s bombtastic score. It reminds me of a 2009 review in Esquire for Richard Kelly’s forgettable film “The Box,” which featured the great scene-stealer Frank Langella who, according to critic Richard Dorment, “lends a majesty to the proceedings that elevates him above the mess.”
The most remarkable thing about Langella’s career isn’t how great he’s been in his many good movies — And God Created Woman, Dave, Frost/Nixon — but how great he’s been in his many bad ones — Cutthroat Island, Body of Evidence, Eddie. You should not for any reason sit through those travesties, but they demonstrate that the guy gives audiences the performances they deserve even when the movies don’t.
I’m getting off track here, but the point is, slap an Alexandre Desplat soundtrack on an otherwise mediocre film and all of a sudden it’s worth watching twice. Not only for “Birth” but the same could be said for Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” a pretty difficult title for most any movie snob to trudge through. But, hey, where would we have been without the Frenchman’s oddly ambient sounds, amirite?
Which brings us to Desplat’s latest for Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” Madison Gate Records released the entire thing on SoundCloud last week, and, from the looks of things on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s hardly a movie that Desplat will have to elevate himself from. He may have just added 18 tracks to its magnificence.
“Zero Dark Thirty” opens Wednesday, so get hyped.