Release Date: 1999
Conducted by Pete Anthony
Review: Hurricane, The
4 / 5 Stars
I recently had the pleasure of seeing The Hurricane at a special BMI screening honoring the composer, Christopher Young. Handed out after the screening were advance promo CDs of Young's score to the film. The film follows the story of "Hurricane" Carter, a black boxer who is wrongfully convicted of murder, and his struggle to prove his innocence. Young's score to The Hurricane eloquently captures the essence of the film by using a unique combination of jazz and pure orchestral drama.
Beginning with "The Hurricane", in which a dark bass line and occasional horns are accentuated with gospel vocalists, the listener can get a sense of the dark, bleak jazz that will eventually permeate the score. The images accompanying this cue are grainy black and white images of "Hurricane" Carter (Denzel Washington) in the boxing ring. The music slowly builds throughout the scene, and an electronic organ even comes in to play. Just as the music reaches a crescendo, it becomes a full-on orchestral cue.
Many of the dramatic cues in the score are comprised solely of strings, which warmed up the score. Occasionally a bass or piano might be used on these cues, but it tended to match the action on screen in those cases. "You Have Transcended" is a great example of the emotional drama that Young is able to achieve. Not only does it have the full-on string motif, but then it moves into the jazzier motif, with a bass, percussion, horn, and strings. Also included on the album was the end title song from the film, "I Will Rise Again" - a great uplifting song that (given the lack of any credits on this promo album) I have to assume Young had some involvement in.
With the occasional jazz motifs, the emotional dramatic underscore, and the rousing climactic ending ("Hate Put Me In Prison, Love's Gonna Bust Me Out"), it would be a shame if Young didn't receive some sort of recognition for his work on this film beyond the end credits. Chris may have gotten his start doing such horror films as Hellraiser, but with dramatic films like Murder in the First and The Hurricane, he is establishing himself more as a composer who can easily give the "upper-tier" composers a run for their money.
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