Musical Score By: John Ottman
Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the action thriller, Non-Stop, Liam Neeson is Bill Marks, a U.S. Federal Air Marshal on board a non-stop international flight from New York to London. An alcoholic with a sorted past that ended in his dismissal from the police force, Marks is not what one would normally considered a hero. So when he begins receiving text messages on his secure line reporting that one passenger on the plane will be killed for every twenty minutes that a specific amount of money does not find its way to a specified bank account, Marks is viewed as a less than reliable source. Especially when the first passenger that dies on the plane does so at Marks' hands. Can Marks persuade the public at large that he is not a hijacker while finding the identity of the true hijacker?
The musical score of Non-Stop was created by American film editor, director and composer John Ottman. Known as the right-hand man of film director Bryan Singer, Ottman learned to love music and film at a very early age. After graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Ottman began a relationship with Bryan Singer and began his scoring career with The Usual Suspects. Since then, he has created musical scores for such notable films as Superman Returns, Valkyrie, Gothika, Orphan, Bubble Boy, Unknown, Jack the Giant Slayer and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
From the start of the Non-Stop Soundtrack, you just know this is going to be a gritty, action/suspense nail-biter of a film. The main character comes with a checkered past and a great deal of baggage filled with resentment and anger that put him just at the breaking point. According to Ottman, "The final balls-out iteration of Billís theme (Non-Stop) is my favorite part of the score. Itís a sort of fusion of throw-back synth sounds, percussion, strings and brass. Itís actually the end title music, but I thought it would be a fun way to start the album." He would be correct. The track perfectly sets up the rest of the soundtrack.
The dramatic orchestral score mixed with sonar pinging and other sounds of Non-Stop moves from edge of your seat intensity to morose self-reflection to ominous a death is about to happen music. As I listened to the Non-Stop Soundtrack I found myself wondering just what was happening from scene to scene. Damaged Goods sounded like the sad truth of self-reflection or a flashback into the past of a beaten man. First Text is ominous enough to make the listener look over his/her shoulder expecting to see the murderous texter seated somewhere behind them. Things become more intense and action based as the soundtrack moves forward culminating in the nail-biter Crash Landing and the much calmer return to normalcy of Epilogue.
The Non-Stop Soundtrack is an excellent example of what scoring a movie is all about. Without reading any information about the film, I could tell that the music described a man, down on his luck with a not-so-happy past, embroiled in a suspenseful hunt for an ominous threat that contains action and twists and turns along the way. The soundtrack tells a story...one that has inspired me to check out the film as soon as I possibly can.