Just Cause

James Newton Howard

" Just Cause is decent thriller material "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

It's been a while since I saw Just Cause, but what I remember of it is that it's a decent thriller about a professor who has to save a young black boy from the electric chair. For the music, James Newton Howard was chosen. Howard, fresh from the success of last year's The Fugitive was definitely the right choice, if only for the fact he could continue to support thrillers with this post Fugitive sound. This is evident in the way it opens "Main Titles", not before unleashing a simple but pleasing theme. The following track "Searching for Clues" could easily be seen as pre The 6th Sense too, as it opens with the same piano style as most of the cues of that album.

But James Newton Howard's Just Cause is above anything else a score that notices itself very strongly in the begin. For instance the atonal attacks in "Bobby Earl in the Elevator" are razorsharp, and the action in "That's Laurie's Car" sounds sometimes deliciously The Fugitive like. Sadly this doesn't continue in the rest of the score. In fact most of the tracks are either a bit too eerie for my taste, or not as powerful as the opening action tracks. The climax in "Conviction Overturned" is hopeful but underwhelming, and the same could be said for the emotional climax in "The Execution". The main theme gets assistance from the action music in the end credits like "Case Closed".

In general, Just Cause does everything right. It pushes the buttons it needs to, and the action is by far the most thrilling aspect of this 30 minute experience. However, from the fifth track I found myself distracted, and the music just barely revived me from that wandering status. You have to see it of course from the film's point of view, and scores like that have been delivered by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith as well. So it's better for you to adore the tracks that do stand out, and accept the others that don't. And if you take that in account, you actually get a lot more out of Just Cause than one might have bargained for. Even if it's an experience that begins better than that it ends.

Favorite Moment - That's Laurie's Car (0.01 - 0.15)
Hello, where does this thundering piece comes from?

Track Titles

1. Main Title (1.36)
2. Searching for Clues (1.54)
3. Bobby Earl in the Elevator (1.19)
4. That's Laurie's Car (2.22)
5. Finding the Scimitar (2.25)
6. Bobby's Confession (3.02)
7. Ida Remembers (3.04)
8. Read the Signs (2.49)
9. Sullivan Phones (2.10)
10. The Execution (3.43)
11. Conviction Overturned (1.39)
12. Phony Message (1.58)
13. Case Closed (2.47)

Total Length: 30.48
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 5 votes - average 3.6/5)

Released by

Varèse Sarabande VSD-5596 (regular release 1995)

Conducted by

Artie Kane

Orchestrations by

Chris Boardman, Jeff Atmajian, Brad Dechter & James Newton Howard