Review: Punisher, The
3 / 5 Stars
As a soundtrack collector, one of the great things about the recent influx of Comic Book Movies is, naturally, Comic Book Movie Scores. Hearing the frenetic pacing of Elfman's Spider-Man, or the brooding strength of Beltrami's Hellboy can be quite exciting for those who are enthusiasts of scores, comic books, movies about comic books, or, (in the optimal instance) all three . You'd have to be some combination of the three to stumble upon the score release of Carlo Siliotto's The Punisher by the good folks at La La Land Records. And if you did, good detective work! The all-song "inspired by" album is too easily forgotten, even on the shelves of most major music retailers.
The film is perhaps not as disappointing as most suspect, and as one comic book store owner I spoke with put it: "Worse than Daredevil, but better than Hulk." For what comes across as a single-possible-outcome revenge story, Thomas Jane carries off a perfectly sullen, brooding anti-crime hero, and what an unexpected pleasure to hear Siliotto's score accompanying said brooding. The theme itself is nothing terribly new - a series of popularly descending minor chords, but Siliotto's style is pleasantly refreshing to those who haven't experienced his previous work. (Perhaps most U.S. audiences may have heard his music previously in 2003's made-for-TNT version of "Julius Caesar".)
The album itself is very generous, providing a solid hour of dark and emotional underscore, taking us through the dark machinations of Frank Castle. Some bittersweet musical moments occur as Frank discovers that he has friends amongst the neighbors in his gloomy habitat. Most refreshing to realize is that there is not much bombast in Silotto's score - there are plenty of explosions and accompanying gun shots punctuating the film, but none of it is glorified through the music. The album itself is finished off by a performance by female vocalist J.C. Loader, singing a pleasant enough pop tune, "Jealous One", (which she performs in the film) and a recognizable opera aria, "La Donna E Mobile", (accompanying a curious action sequence played equally for laughs and squirms as Castle is pitted against a seemingly invulnerable opponent.)
Whether we will see another Punisher film at the box office only time may tell, but in a time when comic books are hot Hollywood property and most mainstream pictures are scored amongst 5 or 6 composers, hearing Siliotto's contributions is a pleasant alternative, and hopefully we will hear more from him in the future