Film Music Monthly Recommendations – March/April 2019

Film music has long been a passion of mine, but I’ve realised I don’t really talk about it on Cultural Conversation as much as I would like. 2019 I am remedying this, partly with a monthly cluster of recommendations.

Well in this case… two monthly. Much as my aim is, similar to my end of year lists, recommend five albums by highlighting a track from them each, each month, the reality is that March/April only delivered five albums which tickled my fancy enough to bring to your attention.

I have thrown a few honourable mentions into the joint March/April Spotify playlist you’ll find at the bottom though…

We continue with March/April 2019, featuring tracks from composers including Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman and Alexandre Desplat…

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The Girl on the Train (2016)

Adaptations of novels to film are notorious in having two schools of thought once the picture is released – those who read the novel, and those who didn’t. Mine is the second camp, though my fiancee did, and she assures me The Girl on the Train hasn’t survived the transition from page to celluloid well.

A bestseller list hit from debut novelist Paula Hawkins in 2015, The Girl on the Train was fast-tracked into production once the rights were snapped up by Hollywood. They thought they had another Gone Girl on their hands, David Fincher’s well constructed adaptation of Gillian Flynn twisted mirror on the trauma of marriage in 2014 being both a critical and commercial hit. Hawkins’ work has, on paper, plenty of the same psycho-sexual thriller elements which pitch these kind of novels as modern day versions of 80’s or 90’s sex-based thrillers that Joe Eszterhas would pen and Paul Verhoeven might direct.

Would that the film version of The Girl on the Train be so visceral. Tate Taylor, best known for emotional American drama The Help, has neither the perverted, steaming fantasy of Verhoeven or the slick, poised understanding of Hitchcockian thrills of Fincher. What could have been a modern Rear Window meets Fatal Attraction ends up being a damp squib, a plodding, leaden and un-focused film which at just 110 minutes feels more like 180. You have to wonder if it takes skill to direct and edit such a slog of a picture from source material known by many to move with far more impetus and grace.

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