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Million Dollar Baby (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Clint Eastwood

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Album Review

Clint Eastwood's self-penned score for his Oscar-winning boxing drama, Million Dollar Baby, is as quietly affecting as the film itself. The veteran director/actor/composer has made a career out of saying as little as possible, so it comes as no surprise that his musical aesthetic is one of elegant refinement rather than bombastic sentimentality. Eastwood sets the tone — and keeps it — with a simple string quartet and acoustic guitar melody. It's gentle and unobtrusive, but deeply cut with melancholy and despair, perfectly encapsulating the heart-wrenching decision that his character is forced to make midway through the film — like fellow director/composer John Carpenter, he cares enough about his visual work to see to it that it doesn't get buried by an overwhelming soundtrack. Bits of jazz are sprinkled about, and they give the score a much-needed break from all of the stoic suffering and pre-fight introspection, but it's Eastwood's talent for reading between the lines that shines through the brightest, resulting in a nuanced and powerful blow from one of the genre's most consistent and tenacious fighters.

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