TunePlay - THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004) John Powell
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Published on Jul 25, 2012
Thriller scribe par excellence, Robert Ludlum (1927 - 2001), launched his writing career rather late in life; his first novel, THE SCARLATTI INHERITENCE (the "three word" title would become a Ludlum trademark) published in 1971 while the author was in his early 40s. He would immediately however shoot to the top of international best seller lists, and a number of his works would find themselves adapted into popular films for both the big and small (as in TV) screens. THE RHINEMAN EXCHANGE, THE HOLCROFT COVENANT, THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND and others would make the celluloid transition while featuring actors as varied as Michael Caine, Stephen Collins, Rutger Hauer, and Patrick Bergin in their leads, while director legends the likes of John Frankenheimer (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, BLACK SUNDAY, RONIN) and Sam Peckinpah (THE WILD BUNCH, STRAW DOGS) spearheaded operations from behind the lens. No Ludlum yarn, book or film, would prove as immensely successful however as his "BOURNE" adventures. First published in 1980, THE BOURNE IDENTITY (a dark take on "Walter Mitty" wherein a peaceful retrograde amnesiac comes to discover he's actually a deadly international "black ops" assassin) was named by Publisher's Weekly as "The Second Best Spy Novel of All Time" on the heel's of John le Carre's THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD. It would become a damned good mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain and former CHARLIE'S ANGEL Jaclyn Smith in 1988, then be parlayed into one of the most successful theatrical thriller franchises of the early 2000s under producers Frank Marshall & Kathleen Kennedy.
A troubled production, THE BOURNE IDENTITY - directed by Doug Liman (who drew inspiration from his father's years with the NSA during the Iran-Contra scandal), starred Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Franka Potente and Brian Cox; and surprised everyone (including it's own cast, crew and producers) by becoming one of the most successful films of 2002. Two more Ludlum-based installments, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004) and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007) would follow - both directed by Paul Greengrass. But the common glue holding all three films together as a unified whole would be it's trio of innovate scores by British born composer John Powell.
Based in the U.S. since 1977, Powell enjoyed stints in various jazz, rock and soul bands (chief among them the R&B influenced "Fabulistics"), until his work scoring TV commercials landed him a gig as assistant to composer Patrick Doyle (MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, THOR) on numerous projects. His own film music career would launch as a member of Hans Zimmer's composing cooperative "Remote Control Productions" where his first forays into features where to numerous DreamWorks animated films such as ANTZ, CHICKEN RUN and SHREK, often co-composed with others such as Harry Gregson-Williams. The witty (and funk-rhythmic) EVOLUTION, as well as I AM SAM and others would lead to a sterling reputation as a quick and facile musical craftsman; then be directly responsible for recurring director / composer relationships with Doug Liman (BOURNE IDENTITY, MR. & MRS. SMITH, JUMPER) and Paul Greengrass (BOURNE SUPREMACY, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, UNITED 93, GREEN ZONE). His impressive work ethic and output would also eventually lead to his first Oscar nomination for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.
The BOURNE films are perhaps Powell's quintessential film-music calling card/testamonial. Trained in his youth as a violinist, the instrument, often in slicing virtuoso mode (and in kick-ass collusion with bass and celli), frequently tends to take center stage in the thriller trilogy amongst the composer's combined orchestra, contemporary rhythm section and electronics. "To The Roof" is a particularly smashing, nicely "funk-i-fied" example. Also dig the complex percussion layers of "Moscow Wind Up" - beginning approx. at (09:22) . Their stunning brand of classical elements combined with bad-assed jazz/R&B-ish rifts, would also similarly become characteristic over the years with other Powell actioners such as THE ITALIAN JOB, MR. & MRS. SMITH, BE COOL, X-MEN: LAST STAND and KUNG FU PANDA.
1) To The Roof (0:00 of 14:04)
2) Moscow Wind Up (05:31 of 14:04)
3) Atonement (12:26 of 14:04)
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