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Fair Game (Original Motion Picture Score)

John Powell

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Album Review

Director Doug Liman's Fair Game is the cinematic account of one of the biggest scandals of the George W. Bush administration, the Valerie Plame Affair. The screenplay is based on the book of the same name by Valerie Plame Wilson and on the book The Politics of Truth by her husband, Joseph Wilson, both concerning Plame Wilson's public outing as a CIA agent after Wilson disputed the Administration's assertion that Saddam Hussein had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S. (Of course, it turned out that, as Wilson suggested, he did not.) Who outed Plame Wilson was a disputed matter, but eventually Scooter Libby, an assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of perjury in connection with it. Liman's film is described as an "action thriller" depicting these events, and John Powell's score, while employing an orchestra, relies heavily on highly percussive sounds provided by guitarist Vivian Milanova, keyboard sampler Zac Rae, and especially drum and percussion sampler Joey Waronker. (There is also a credit to Beth Caucci as "sound programmer.") The strings are there in the music, but they are often in the background, with an echoey sound, adding accents to the throbbing bass and percussion sounds. This is a score full of disturbingly dark and low-pitched sounds, no doubt supporting the mystery and suspense of the story. At times, the music suggests a U2 song that hasn't quite gotten going yet, particularly the final track, "Testify," which sounds like it might turn into "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" any second.

Biography

Born: September 18, 1964 in London, England

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

English composer John Powell honed his craft, along with contemporaries like Harry Gregson-Williams and Klaus Badelt, as a member of Hanz Zimmer's Remote Control Productions. Powell has provided score for numerous films, including the three Matt Damon-starring Bourne films, X-Men: The Last...
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