Soundtrack
 

Argo

Composed By: Alexandre Desplat

Distributed by: WaterTower Records


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

                Based on actual events, the dramatic thriller Argo tells the story of a rescue mission in Iran during the Iran Hostage Crisis of the 1970s.  On November 4, 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was stormed by militants and fifty-two Americans were taken hostage.  Six managed to escape capture and were hidden away in Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor's (Victor Garber) home.  The clock is ticking and the CIA turns to top exfiltration specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck - also the film's director) to come up with a plan to safely extract the six Americans from the country.  What he comes up with will require the combined efforts of Hollywood and the CIA in a little known, elaborate and slightly bizarre rescue mission, the details of which have only recently become declassified.

                The musical score of Argo was created by critically acclaimed composer Alexandre Desplat, who began his musical studies as a classically trained flautist before expanding his horizons towards jazz, Brazilian and African music.  By his teenage years, he was studying musical scores and by the 1990s, Desplat had begun his scoring career, writing over 50 film scores in that decade.  In 2003, Alexandre Desplat broke on to the Hollywood scene with his score for Girl With A Pearl Earring.  Since then he has received accolades for his musical scores of films like The King's Speech, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Tree of Life, The Ides of Marc, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2.

                The musical score created by Alexandre Desplat is not your run of the mill dramatic thriller score.  The music is intense and dramatic as expected, but the true uniqueness lies in the instrumentation.  I expected the ethnic sound and use of Middle Eastern instruments to create a musical environment that reflected the film's locale.  Percussion was used to great effect, accentuating the dramatic scenes and scenes containing elements of action.  However, I never expected the use of vocal sounds as a type of musical instrument.  The resulting score is enough to make your hair stand on end.  The voice instrumentation is used in two ways.  It not only adds to the ethnic element of the score, but it sends chills up your spine, reflecting the fear of all involved in this amazing rescue, especially the Americans relying on Tony Mendez's plan to work.

                When Alexandre Desplat created the musical score of Argo, he not only created a score that was perfect as background music for the film, but a dramatically unique soundtrack that is incredibly interesting as a stand alone album.  I would urge anyone interested in unique techniques employed to create dramatic scores to check out the Argo Soundtrack.  You will not be disappointed.

 

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