" 2 worthwhile tracks in a forgettable package "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
Red Corner, starring Richard Gere wasn't widely accepted by audiences, nor critics for that matter. On the contrary, playing out Richard Gere's loveable charm doesn't always pay off in any picture. Because many people just didn't buy the unrealistic and above all Hollywood like plot of Red Corner. For the music, director Jon Avnet went for the obvious choice. Namely the composer he worked with before on 3 motion pictures. And though it seemed that Thomas Newman was a logical choice for this kind of motion picture, somehow Red Corner just doesn't deliver on all accounts.
What you get here is a score that mimics the moody unnerving darkness of scores such as The Shawshank Redemption, stirred with an ethnic spoon and presented in a not appetizing experience. In fact, it takes quite a bit of time to get to the more rewarding Thomas Newman material. Consider the first 16 tracks to be one long brooding experience. Throwing a lot of darkness at you, moody music, brief ethnic influences, occasional percussive chase music and a traditional piece here and there, Red Corner just takes you on a long moody quest. Add to that a musical sfx track ("Dazhalan Chase") and you basically have effective but uninteresting Thomas Newman music.
And then suddenly you reach "Shen Yuelin", a track that suddenly bursts out with a wonderful main theme full of respect and warmth. It' a proud and just piece where Richard Gere's character finally understands that he has one friend he can rely on. Returning equally powerful in "Remarkable Things", it are Thomas Newman's sole 2 moments of thematic material. The final track "Black (End Title)" continues on the same unnerving trend of the entire score, bringing more effective music than actual melody.
In short, Red Corner is darn effective and even interesting from a technical point of view. But one will forget rather quickly that he's listening to a musical score in the first place. For that Thomas Newman just brings little music to begin with. Having to dig through 16 tracks of unnerving suspense to get to the first thematic idea is pushing it, and realizing that it is one of 2 is calling the soundtrack a tough experience. Trust me, I can see people actually enjoying this. But if I want something dark yet inspiring, others of Thomas Newman cross my mind. And then even 7 minutes of fine thematic music can't change my mind.
1. Red Corner (Main Title) (3.19)
2. Communism (1.08)
3. Da Bi Zi (Big Nose) (1.24)
4. Dead Girl (02:00)
5. The Beijing Hotel (1.56)
6. Night deeply sunk * (1.05)
7. Severity (1.03)
8. The People's Assessors (1.13)
9. Capitalism (1.18)
10. The Price of a Bullet (1.26)
11. Tiananmen Square (1.49)
12. Embroidering * (2.16)
13. Dazhalan Chase (2.44)
14. Leniency (1.54)
15. House Rules (3.20)
16. Full-scale Incident (4.55)
17. Shen Yuelin (2.57) Excellent track
18. Silence (1.44)
19. Two Trials (1.49)
20. The Purple Bamboo Melody * (3.31)
21. Detention Center 1 (1.33)
22. Offer to resign (1.25)
23. Da Guan Lin Dan (Big Shot) (2.44)
24. Verdict (1.00)
25. Remarkable Things (5.03) Excellent track
26. Black (End Title) (4.52)
* Chinese traditional
Total Length: 59.28