The Bag Man

Composed By: Tony Morales and Edward Rogers

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the crime thriller, The Bag Man, John Cusack is Jack, a tough guy with redeeming qualities and a serious case of bad luck.  This bad luck streak seems to shine even brighter after Jack is hired by legendary crime boss Dragna (Robert De Niro) for an unusual job.  Jack is supposed to recover a mysterious bag.  He is to do anything to get his hands on this bag, but not open it, protecting it until Dragna arrives to pick it up...then, the real fun begins.

                The musical score of The Bag Man was composed by the combined efforts of Tony Morales and Edward Rogers.  Beginning his musical career by learning to play the guitar at the age of six, Tony Morales performed with a number of local bands until turning his attention to film scoring.  Since then, he has composed a number of scores for television and film, including Hatfields & McCoys, Enemies Closer and In Your Eyes.  Edward Rogers is a composer for television, film and video games.  Some of his most notable work appears on Warehouse 13, Alphas and I Break for GringosThe Bag Man is not the first time Morales and Rogers have worked together.  They are the composing team responsible for the scores of Hide Away and Breaking at the Edge.

                To create the score for The Bag Man, Morales and Rogers decided to think out of the box, creating a score that is offbeat and akin to the film's Louisiana setting.  According to Rogers, "We kept the instrumentation pretty bare bones.  It is mainly acoustic bass, guitars, percussion and some electronics.  Joshua Grange played lap steel guitar to create many of the moody atmospheric sounds heard in the score.  The specific guitar he played is called a Frying Pan guitar, which is an antique instrument that was made by Rickenbacker in the 1930s. The tone of that specific guitar and the masterful way in which he played it is one of the keys to the sound of the film."

                The resulting score is a mix of electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard/synths, ambient sound and heavy percussion.  There's a dark, dangerous tone to The Bag Man Soundtrack...a western gunslinger theme to it.  Things are fairly dangerous and slow moving until Taking Lizard for a Ride.  That's when you know that the danger factor has just risen a couple of notches for Jack.  The music is faster paced and the percussion is much heavier in this track.  You just know something bad is about to take place...something that is going to change the game for Jack forever.

                The Bag Man Soundtrack features a dark score with a hard bite designed to describe the characters and the situations they get into as well as the environment they find themselves in.  The composing team of Tony Morales and Edward Rogers has created quite an interesting score that I believe probably suits the movie perfectly.  As a stand alone album, I found The Bag Man Soundtrack to be interesting enough to recommend it to other soundtrack fans out there.  It's definitely worth taking a listen to.


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