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The Unknown Known (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Documentarian Errol Morris is known for his association with composer Philip Glass, while composer Danny Elfman has long collaborated with director Tim Burton. But the Morris/Elfman teaming on this interrogation/profile of controversial former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is actually the logical continuation of an unlikely collaboration that started in 2008 on Standard Operating Procedure, the filmmaker’s troubling examination of the Iraq War’s Abu Ghraib prison scandal. It’s also a welcome reminder that Elfman continues to build an eclectic body of work outside his long-typecast Hollywood blockbuster fare. The hypnotic rhythms here may recall Glass’ minimalism, but Elfman’s musical whimsy (“Marimba Foghorn”) is often the counterpoint to Morris’ frustration with a subject who uses a thousand words to say nothing. Indeed, “Rummy’s Theme” deftly skewers the point; it's an ornate choirboy’s aria, sans words.

Customer Reviews


Regardless of the content of the documentary itself (which I found fascinating), the music was fantastic. It stood out enough that I went online to find out who made it, which led me here.

Danny Elfman.

Again, A Great Soundtrack!


As both a Neocon who loves Rummy and a fan of Errol Morris' previous works, I can happily attest to this film being one of the best documentaries I've seen yet. The musical score is similar and yet different from the director's previous work, "The Fog of War." In that documentary featuring former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Michael Reisman played renditions of Philip Glass for the soundtrack, giving it the depressing and apologetic tone that McNamara had set for that film. Danny Elfman's score, however, perfectly captures the disturbingly cheery and avuncular mood that Rumsfeld sets in this film. It is both a beautiful and painfully ironic soundtrack that is worth owning.


Born: May 29, 1953 in Amarillo, TX

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Best known for his work in collaboration with director Tim Burton, composer Danny Elfman created one of the most distinctive bodies of work in contemporary film music, bringing his talents to a dark fantasy world populated by superheroes, monsters and freaks. The son of novelist Blossom Elfman, he was born May 29, 1953 in Amarillo, Texas. Raised in Los Angeles, he and brother Richard relocated to France in 1971, where he joined a theatrical group. Elfman subsequently moved on to Africa, returning...
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The Unknown Known (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Danny Elfman
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Soundtrack, Music
  • Released: Apr 04, 2014

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