Musical Score By: Harry Gregson-Williams

Distributed by: La-La Land Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The movie Unstoppable is inspired by an incident that took place in 2001 involving an unmanned train that journeyed throughout northwest Ohio.  Tank cars on the train contained toxic chemicals and when derailing efforts failed, a crew was amassed to slow and eventually stop the train before a major catastrophe could take place.  In the movie, Denzel Washington is Frank Barnes, a veteran train engineer Chris Pine is Will Colson, a young train conductor.  The two must put aside their animosity for each other to find a way to stop a runaway train about to cause disaster in a heavily populated area.

            The musical score of Unstoppable was composed by British film composer Harry Gregson-Williams, one of Hollywood’s most sought after composers.  Born to a musical family and earning a scholarship to St. John’s College of Cambridge at the age of seven, Gregson-Williams’ musical career began very early.  By age 13, he had been a soloist on over a dozen records.  He later went on to compose musical scores for English director Nicolas Roeg, eventually breaking into Hollywood composing through his collaboration and friendship with Hans Zimmer.  Since then, Harry Gregson-Williams has created a number of musical scores for films including Kingdom of Heaven, Shrek, Shrek 2, Chicken Run, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Shrek the Third, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Town.

            Unstoppable has been touted as a rollercoaster ride of adrenaline and suspense.  The musical score of the film had a great deal to do with that as Gregson-Williams used electric guitars, electric cellos and electric violins to add a hard-hitting, adrenaline-pumping sound.  Rising crescendos and fast-paced tempos added to the sense of urgency in tracks like Are You In or Are You Out? and Not a Coaster.  Violin, violas, basses and celli, accompanied by Harry Gregson-Williams himself on piano provided theme music for each of the main characters in the film.  Each of these themes, especially those created for Frank Barnes and Will Colson, are woven into the action tracks providing a unique and enjoyable sound. 

            I have listened to and enjoyed quite a few Harry Gregson-Williams soundtracks, but his composition for Unstoppable is, in my opinion, his greatest thus far.  He perfectly describes each character while still managing to heighten the intensity of the film and enhancing the action scenes that take place.  The Unstoppable Soundtrack is perfect as an accompaniment to the film, but is just as enjoyable as a stand alone album and will make a great addition to my movie soundtrack collection.


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