CD Review – John Powell “The Bourne Ultimatum” – Decca Records

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The Bourne Ultimatum marks the third film featuring Robert Ludlum’s most creative and perhaps famous character,David Webb aka Jason Bourne. The first two films have been quite excellent both in telling Bourne’s story and creating a excellent showcase for Matt Damon to shine on his own,escaping the shadow of both Ben Affleck and George Clooney. The Bourne films really allow you to see just how good of a actor Damon truly is with a smart script.

But to make a good movie really stand out,you need a excellent score and John Powell once again delivers here. He too,has been with Bourne all 3 films and his confidence and knowing who Jason Bourne really is allows Powell to create a very fast paced and taut score.

The overall score once again is spare,its built for speed,mixing high tech synths with quick strings and bass drums. It feels like a sprint but thats the idea as the music wants you to be slightly out of breath,you feel like you’re side by side with Bourne,trying to stay one step ahead. A heavy ponderous massive orchestra with the usual dramatic slow music would have killed the theme and mood here. Powell knows better,he doesn’t allow this…but he does give the score a slight international sense as “Coming Home” features a nice African tribal beat before falling away to a impressive string finale featuring 16 violas.

What also makes this score more impressive is its entirely fresh,Powell doesn’t go back to his earlier scores to pad this effort like a lot of others do. While that can be very effective (John Ottoman’s Superman Returns is a prime example),each Bourne adventure is new,each film has a different tone and settings. Powell knows that his audience is smart and provides new textures and moods to his score.

This is a most excellent effort and a score I highly recommend to any movie buff who enjoys his/her scores tight as a tripwire….

Review by Michael Sullivan