Bill Conti's score to this remake of a Steve McQueen vehicle receieved almost as much criticism as it did praise. Some said that it didn't fit in the film at all while others, like myself felt that it provided a nice breath of fresh air and a nicely retro scoring style. The film itself was entertaining with Brosnan and Russo being calmly sexy and while they probably don't have as much chemistry as the original pairing, it still worked very well. Of course the robbery scenes were superly crafted and fascinating to watch. Sadly the album gives short shrift to Conti's excellent score, reducing it to a mere 15 minutes after four reasonable (and well placed) songs, but there are neither enough songs for the casual listener nor enough score for the film music fan.
Conti's score is crafted around repeating piano motifs and some interesting piano duets which weave there way through the orchestra. Black & White openings with a repeating piano note, onto which a short motif is added and then another until there is a harmonic undercurrent onto which a simple, but enjoyable theme is grafted. I am convinced that the opening credits were longer than this, so this means it is either a cut down version or just a short version of the credits music that was tracked into the film later on. These motifs appear several times in the score, most notably in the centrepiece gliding cues. These were both superbly shot (making gliding seem fast and exciting when it is usually considered slow and relaxing) and superbly scored. Conti's kinetic mixture of piano and string motifs playing off each other fit like a glove. Aside from this pseudo Michael Nyman with tunes music, the rest is pretty much made up of various jazzy inflected pieces. Never Change starts with a kind of sophisticated, modern jazz combo (which quickly and painlessly moves into the aforementioned piano motifs). Meet Ms Banning is more what might be deemed as late night, smoky jazz club type of laid back thing. The final (and very brief cue) reminds me of the kind of Jerry Goldsmith jazz that appears during the quieter moments of his cop drama scores such as LA Confidential although Conti's music is quite a bit warmer and less abrasive.
Generally a disappointing release of a good score. Had there been half an hour of score and half an hour of songs then everyone would have been happy (well, happier anyway), but as it stands it is difficult to recommend the score unless you know you're going to like the songs. Anyone who is desperate to hear Conti's score is going to just about get into it and then realise that it's finished, thus turning into a wholly dissatisfying experience all round. The rating reflects the overall album since the songs are quite good and Conti's score is good to excellent most of the time and had it been longer would certainly have received a higher rating. Difficult to recommend as an album, but easy to recommend on just musical terms.