Movie Soundtrack

Max Payne

Composed by: Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

Distributed by: La-La Land Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Based on the 2001 video game of the same name, Max Payne is an action film starring Mark Wahlberg as a New York City Police Detective obsessed with finding the murderer of his wife and child.  His investigation leads him deep into the criminal underworld where he faces enemies with powers beyond his imagination.    

            The soundtrack for Max Payne is composed by the duo of Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders.  Marco Beltrami began his career as a composer at the age of six when he would re-write piano pieces he was supposed to be practicing in his home in Long Island, New York.  Beltrami dabbled in music, playing keyboards for rock bands as a teenager.  Enrolling in Brown University expanded Beltrami’s view of music by introducing him to the world electronic sound and the rest is history.  Marco Beltrami went on to compose musical scores for such well-known films as Scream, Mimic, Resident Evil, Hellboy, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 3:10 to Yuma and more.  Buck Sanders was always interested in music, playing guitar in local rock bands until a stint at a local video store turned him on to musical scoring.  Sanders became Marco Beltrami’s assistant in 1997 and eventually worked with him on the soundtracks of the second and third Scream films, Mimic, Dracula 2000 and more.

            Knowing that Max Payne has been toted as an incredibly action-packed video game, I expected nothing less from the movie.  Thus, I figured the soundtrack would be equally action packed.  I expected heavy guitars and slamming beats, but I had forgotten something important – the film’s main character was incredibly dark.  This leant to a more ominous musical styling.  In an attempt to give us a glimpse into the soul of Max Payne, Baltrami and Sanders detuned a piano, creating a very unique sound – “It transformed the piano’s upper registers into a glassy, chime-like instrument and the low end became an unpitchable rumbling.”  This disturbing sound is used throughout the film as a sort of theme for Max Payne.  But don’t get me wrong – all is not dark and ominous.  There are some action tracks heavy on synthesizers and guitar riffs.

            All-in-all, the soundtrack for Max Payne contains a rather unique sound that makes the music rather enjoyable.  This is not your everyday run-of-the-mill musical score.  The composers take an approach to scoring that is new and exciting and makes listeners take notice.  The Max Payne Sountrack is a refreshing change of pace from your average action film musical score.


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