Days of Grace
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Days of Grace takes place in Mexico City, a lawless town of late. The film spans over twelve years with the backdrop being the three Soccer World Cups played during that time (2002, 2006 and 2010). One hero of the film is a local policeman named Lupo Esparza (Tenoch Huerta) whose law enforcement style is often just as brutal as the drug dealers, kidnappers and other outlaws he faces. During the World Cup, law enforcement and criminals alike tend to let down their guard, but not this cop, holding justice important above all, even his own life. The movie actually follows three lives that become linked by events spanning the twelve years of the film - that of Lupo, an actor kidnapped by a drug dealer Lupo exacted justice on and the actor's wife, Susana.
The musical score of Days of Grace is quite unusual in that it was created by a number of different composers. Each composer was selected to create music for a different time period in the film. The soundtrack is divided in the same way and features tracks of dialogue from the film itself. The album also features songs by Bot'Ox and Scarlett Johansson. The first segment of this 39 track album was created via the collaborated efforts of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. This portion of the soundtrack is quite unique, featuring less music and more sounds - animal and nature sounds mixed with electronic elements.
The second segment of the album features music created by Atticus Ross, Claudia Sarne & Leopold Ross. The music has an electronic feel and fully represents the darker side of the film, featuring ominous undertones. The third segment of the album features musical scoring by Shigeru Umebayashi. This music is also somewhat dark, but is somewhat softer, representing the story of Susana.
The Days of Grace Soundtrack is somewhat difficult to follow. The music is constantly interrupted by lengthy Spanish dialogue taken from the film. (Hint: If you do not understand Spanish, this will compound your annoyance at this soundtrack.) The music by Shigeru Umebayashi is just about the only enjoyable music on the soundtrack, but you don't get to hear his musical score until Track 23. By then, you are thoroughly annoyed by tracks filled with noises interspersed with music and intertwined with dialogue.
I think this album could have been presented in a better fashion - perhaps leaving out the dialogue would make the music flow together better. As it is now, I couldn't wait for the Days of Grace Soundtrack to be over. In my opinion, one would do best skipping the $15.00 plus US price tag and simply downloading the incredibly beautiful, if not somber, tracks created by Shigeru Umebayashi. The rest of the album is a dud.