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Monday, 18 June 2012

Film May Eat Itself in 'STOKER' ~ Notes on the majestic film scores of the slightly dangerous, but swanlike, Clint Mansell

Clint Mansell, lead singer and guitarist of the Stourbridge-based, sonically-raging alternative UK anti-pop band POP WILL EAT ITSELF ( their track 'Beaver Patrol' still well-remembered from the soundtrack to the 1988 John Candy/ Dan Aykroyd comedy 'The Great Outdoors') went on to compose some of the most alluring and sensory soundtracks in the history of film, from the senses-searing 'Requiem for a Dream' to the balletically-gritty 'The Wrestler', from the moody 'Moon' to the magnificent 'Black Swan'.

Mansell replaced Philip Glass for the upcoming black-hearted thriller flick 'Stoker' (2012) that stars Nicole Kidman in a very creepy-sounding slice of film candy centering around a teenage girl's mysterious stepfather turning up on the scene after her real father's death, and causing an already claustophobic life to close further in with terror. Devon-born actor Matthew Goode plays the wonderfully-named Uncle Charlie Stoker. The film is currently buzzing loudly with plenty of anticipation in plush Hollywood bars and in the UK film critics' favourite el cheapo chatty pubs for red-lit green-lit film project gossip in Soho's now designer hovels. The director of Stoker, Park Chan-Wook, previously shocked with Oldboy (2003), Lady Vengeance (2005) and Thirst (2009), and this will be his first tasting of blood of an English-language film. Mia Wasikowska who was fabulously flighty in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) takes the lead as India Stoker; great casting.

The spiritual, making-sense-of-the-world-as-we-don't-know-it 2006 movie; The Fountain, featuring the best Big Bang since Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange got together on the kitchen table features a piano-led score from Mansell that was originally to have included Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons, but it was decided, in the end, that the simple piano arrangement was all that was needed.

For The Wrestler, the soundtrack included well known songs such as 'Sweet Child o' Mine' by Guns N' Roses that Mickey Rourke persuaded Axl Rose to donate for free (due to the movie's limited budget) and the specially-penned Bruce Springsteen track 'The Wrestler' that played over the credits, but it was Mansell's original music, featuring Slash, that astounded most with its simple, restrained, right-by-the-ringside beauty...

'Stoker', if just for the Clint Mansell soundtrack, will be bound to be something that huge bit different ...

Words: Mark Gordon Palmer

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