Black Book/Dudley

November 3, 2006

 

Hailed by critics and audiences as one of the best Dutch films done in recent years, Black Book is a 25 year project of Paul Verhoeven and Gerard Soeteman (co-writers of screenplay) who also collaborated on Soldier of Orange (1977), also a film about World War 2, and also praised as one of the best Dutch films ever done. This tells the story of a Dutch/Jewish singer who does what is necessary to survive during the end of World War 2. It was also directed by Paul “Basic Instinct” Verhoeven who had grown somewhat tired of Hollywood took a period of time off (Hollow Man in 2000) was his last film, and has now returned to do Dutch films. The film stars Carice Van Houten who also performs four of the songs including the famous Victor Young/Ned Washington number “A Hundred Years From Today”. The film is set for a limited US release in March 2007 and this reviewer will be first in line to view it.

First Gwyneth Paltrow singing “What Is This Thing Called Love” in Infamous and now Carice giving us “A Hundred Years From Today” and one wonders if careers really went in the right direction as both of them perform very nicely. She also sings (3) other songs from the German era, but they are in German and oh well if you understand the language your ahead of me. “Rachel’s Theme” and “The Endless River”(same theme) are lovely, haunting, mysterious, one that will stay with you for awhile. Mrs. Dudley has fashioned a theme that is something along the style of what Christopher Young might have fashioned. While I am not talking about either theme if you listen to the beginning of Hush and the beginning of “In Pursuit” or a small part of “Rachel”s Theme” there is that delicate similiarity between the two. Part of “The Blackbook” track has some good action music with it that thank heavens doesn’t have to go completely over the top with being too brash and loud. Anne makes her point of what she wanted to accomplish in other ways which I applaud. The escape, action, and suspense cues all appear (haven’t viewed the film) to be well written and orchestrated. And while it doesn’t sound like a full symphony orchestra there are certainly enough players to make the music rich and full sounding. “Victims of the Occupation” is as expected from the title a very solemn adagio. The final track “Endless River” is another statement of the main theme but a lot richer fuller sound than the orchestration from “Rachel’s Theme”.

The (4) song tracks do not fit the overall sound of the Dudley score which is overall extremely dark and somber. There is nothing even remotely bright and upbeat, so if that is your cup of tea this might not be the score for you. There is no electronic/synthesizer tracks to deal with either. There are no piano tracks. This is a straight London recorded score. On the other hand if you like your scores serious, and somber with an air of mystery to it this would be an excellent choice. If you do decide to purchase it give it several listens (not just background while you are working or doing homework). Good score, orchestrating, arranging and musical performance. Recommended.

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