Film Music: Revolutionary Road

Thomas Newman has a wonderful score for Revolutionary Road. The primary theme is haunting and yet static, as if nothing ever really changes and so much of the film has that same attitude.

Unfortunately, this tends to work against Newman in terms of getting a Best Film Score (Revolutionary Road was not nominated). As the story progresses (and things seemingly stay the same) Newman does provide different colors to the tone, sometimes using strings, other times the theme is played with woodwinds and occasionally the theme is done with electronic sounds. All of these changes give a depth to the music, but because the primary theme is so very static, haunting and yet unmoving, the music heightens the feeling of being trapped, going no where.

This is very much what the film is about, and I suppose in that regard Newman did a fantastic job. However, there is a problem with the film in that regard. We don't get to know the original reasons for the love and so, in the end we don't have a depth of feeling for the result. It is emotional, but not as strong as it could be. The film portrayed the book in this regard very well. Unfortunately, it left the audience not quite the range of emotions they could have if more of the early days had been explored. IF this had been done, then perhaps Newman would have been able to express more in the music.

Again, it is a wonderful score and for the film it was written it matches very well. However, it doesn't quite give us enough, although I credit that fault with the film and perhaps even the story. What the score does show is Newman's understanding of film music. The match is excellent, if only the film had given Newman more a chance to grow.


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