ELYSIUM is a new sci-fi thriller that is set in 2154, where the privileged and rich are living in luxury, opulence and safety on a state of the art space station, (ELYSIUM) with every wish and whim imagined being catered for and made available. Where as the poor and majority of people are confined to a dying planet in conditions which are just the opposite, the Earth is overpopulated and spoilt barely able to support the inhabitants. The people of the planet are desperate and frustrated and want to escape the poverty and the ever present crime which has engulfed them. The film boasts the acting talents of Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, Damon portrays the only man it seems is able to improve matters and sets out to bring equality back to Earth. The impressive and vibrant musical score is the work of newcomer Ryan Amon
. He has provided the movie with a soundtrack that is full of effervescent musical passages that throb and pound throughout the work which is filled to capacity with dark musical colours that excite and intrigue, he has also laced and enhanced the action on screen with aggressive and pulsating nuances that create a thundering tense atmosphere at times and support each and every action packed second of the movie, but there is also a lighter side to the work with somewhat haunting interludes that in effect lull the listener into a false sense of security and well being, but just as one thinks everything is ok the composer ushers in more pulsing and percussive elements to rack up the tension creating a richly infectious and highly rhythmic sense of impending dread and danger. This style of writing I think is demonstrated perfectly in track number, 4, DEPORTATION, the music relays a real atmosphere of urgency as driving strings enhanced by electronic elements introduce the cue, briefly this urgency is quelled by the utilization of an adagio of strings, which is a brief but welcoming touch, bringing emotion and a hint of bitter sweetness to the composition, This however is short lived as it is very quickly overridden and overwhelmed by the return of the exciting and strident strings, which have a sound that is both unforgiving and ruthless, synths also play in unison with the strings and act as a backing track to them as they lay down a callous and threatening musical statement which this time is dramatically supported by imposing and blasting brass that growls and acts as a type of punctuation to the building momentum of the proceedings but at the same time also establishes a sense of nervous tension and menace within the cue. The composer certainly does not hold back in his musical enhancement of the movie and the score is a relentless, inventive and highly entertaining, and although this is a full throttle, high octane work that is hard hitting and in numerous places largely atonal in its make up and sound I found it attractive and interesting. Amon, fuses both synthetic and symphonic in a seamless and stylish fashion, creating themes, driving action pieces and emotional interludes that are all essential listening.
Track number 7, YOU’D SAID YOU DO ANYTHING, for example contains some wonderful percussive rhythms and a voice that is attractive but at the same time unnerving, it’s hard to make out what dialect this is, maybe from Eastern European origins or based on it at least? But nevertheless it hits the spot, and does the job. Track number 10, ZERO INJURIES SUSTAINED, begins in great action style, again imposing and forceful brass accompanied by hammering percussion and driving strings establishes the tone and style of the cue, then a lull intercedes for just seconds as the strings etc seem to take a breather, but only to return even more vigorous, grandiose and vibrant. Track 15, I DON’T WANT TO DIE, is one of those tracks on a soundtrack that sort of stands out even more than others, the composer brings solo female voice into the equation, and this gives the music a kind of earthiness, very similar to Zimmer’s use of female voice on GLADIATOR, it purveys a sadness and sombre atmosphere but also one that manages to be uplifting. Ryan Amon
is a composer to look out for, because I just know that we will in the very near future be seeing his name on the credits of more than one block buster. Check this one out sooner rather than later.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light