Incredible Soundtrack #18: Collateral (Newton Howard)

The music attached to a film creates the environment, I believe, moreso than the literal environment depicted through the visuals…


Now things get tricky. Though James Newton Howard composed the score to Collateral, from the soundtrack, I have not chosen a single track from the score itself. I am in no way saying how the score is flawed – far from it – but I do believe that the stand out tracks are not his.

In terms of ‘setting the tone’, Rothrocks additions add pace and adrenaline, whilst as Max (Jamie Foxx) flicks through the range of various radio stations we get excerpts from artists such as The Roots, Groove Armada and Calexico. Even Antonio Pinto, Bach and Paul Oakenfold make an appearance. Suffice to say, its a tough call when choosing which three tracks I will focus upon so – knowing that some tracks are good, I have tried to choose the tracks which best represent the film. (I will mention briefly how Paul Oakenfold’s Ready Steady Go does not make an appearance, despite its fantastic use in ‘the club’ sequence, and it is due to fans of The Bourne Identity who would argue how we first heard the song as Matt Damon drove his mini through the streets of Paris way back in 2001 – a couple of years prior to Collateral)

1. Briefcase (Tom Rothrock) – A brilliant start to the film as, with one small exchange (Y’know Statham was originally going to play the role of ‘Max’…) the equilibrium is disrupted and the lives of Vincent and max are changed forever. Pace, adrenaline and – at least for me – I was hooked…



8. Shadow on the Sun (Audioslave) – When Chris Cornell released You Know My Name I only knew him from this single track by Audioslave. It has a prominent use in the film as the parrallel between the wolves wandering LA is seen by Max and Vincent. The song continues as the two drive off further, but the recurring guitar motif continues to ring like an alarm bell – “Max, you need to do something…”




16. Requiem (Antonio Pinto) – I found a full version of this track and I would have used it had it not become so busy in the final section of the song. The version I found features on the soundtrack and slowly feeds the end of the film back to normality – though we have witnessed an unforgettable night for Max and Vincent, we also see the start of a new day. The workers beginning their daily routine and Max, hopefully, starting the day with a new outlook …

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