Musical Score By: Howard Shore

Distributed by: Howe Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In June 2009, Maziar Bahari, (Gael García Bernal) a 42-year-old Tehran-born broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship, returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the prime challenger to controversial incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Putting himself at great risk, Bahari submitted footage to the BBC which covered the riots that took place in the streets protesting the announcement of Ahmadinejad's victory.  Shortly afterwards, Bahari was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard police who proceeded to interrogate and torture him for the next 118 days.  Rosewater, based on the memoir Then They Came For Me by Maziar Bahari, was written, directed and produced by Jon Stewart.

                The Rosewater Soundtrack contains songs and music by various artists and musical score by Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore.  Since he began composing music for film in the late 1970s, Howard Shore has created musical score for over eighty films, including The Fly, Dead Ringers, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Hugo, The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogies and more.  Songs are performed by Iranian artists 25 Band and Mahdyar Aghajani and Canadian singer Leonard Cohen.

                Listening to the Rosewater score, I found myself somewhat confused.  I had listened to musical scores of films set in the same locale and was surprised that the only moments I was keyed into the fact that this movie was set in Iran were the music tracks New Bloom, Vagheyi and the song Ye Baade Khonak.  Why?  Because these were performed by Iranians and contained the traditional music and language of the country.  Howard Shore's score was dramatic, but it seemed more on the Celtic side than on the Iranian side. 

                I was surprised to discover that other reviewers actually really enjoyed what they felt to be a Middle Eastern influenced score.  While I felt that Shore's score spoke to the drama and danger surrounding Maziar Bahari trip to Iran and his capture and torture, I felt that it was lacking in its attempt at transporting us to the locale of the film.  Without the music by Mahdyar Aghajani and 25 Band, I feel the Rosewater Soundtrack would have been severely lacking in cultural flavor that, to me at least, is very important to the film and should have been a greater influence to Shore's score.  Overall - not very enamored with this soundtrack at all.       


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at