Soundtrack Review: Sin City
By Mark Sung Apr 18, 2005, 18:55 GMT
Although initially intending to write the score himself, Rodriguez brought in two more composers to help score the three separate storylines, Graeme Revell and John Debney. Robert Rodriguez took the task of scoring for the Hartigan / Nancy Callahan story as well as the Sin City main theme, whereas Graeme Revell scored the Marv / Goldie story and John Debney scored the Dwight / Jackie Boy story.
The soundtrack score presents the tracks nicely in the chronological order of the movie, starting with the ‘Sin City’ theme, which sounds mean, slick and moody with it’s heavy use of bass and a harsh sounding sax. This is followed by the track ‘One Hour to Go,’ also written by Robert Rodriguez, which briefly introduces the Hartigan story at the beginning of the film.
Following on is Graeme Revell’s score for the Marv / Goldie story which begins with the track ‘Goldie's Dead.’ There’s an interesting use of piano notes and soft female vocals which helps to bring out the emotional tragedy and loneliness of the scene. The use of the sax in the main theme is carried through Graeme Revell’s score although its use is a lot softer. The track ‘Marv,’ like the character, is heavy and bold. Graeme Revell’s part of score has the least orchestra use, giving it a sense of solitude, which is rather fitting considering the coat stealing character Marv likes to do things on his own.
Beginning with the track ‘Dwight,’ John Debney’s work is more the thematic with its use of fast paced jazz rhythms and notable use of strings as heard in tracks such as ‘Old Town.’ The strings are used to great effect in ‘Deadly Little Mino’ to express the impending danger the character presents. In general Debney’s score seems a lot more dramatic with the use of the orchestra. ‘The Big Fat Kill’ brings John Debney’s portion of the score to an end with an impressive climax featuring a stirring sax solo backed by an accompaniment of strings.
Robert Rodriguez continues his part of the story starting with the tracks ‘Nancy’ and ‘Prison Cell.’ Rodriguez is able to capture the uncertainty and foreboding of the scenes with his use of the harp, strings and low-pitched piano notes.
Continuing with the chronological order of the movie, the next track which follows is the techno rock song ‘Absurd’ by Fluke. This was briefly played during the scene in the bar where Nancy Callahan dances on the stage. The song might seem a little out of place since it’s so different to the rest of the score, but it’s no doubt a nice addition to the soundtrack for fans of the film. Also included is Silvestre Revueltas’ classical piece ‘Sensemaya’ which was apparently the inspiration for the score. Despite some similarities, it just doesn’t have as much weight as the rest of the score and lacks the mood and the grittiness. The main theme is only really heard again in full in the last track ‘Sin City End Titles’ where it is presented as a rock-version.
Despite having three different composers working on three different storylines, each section of the soundtrack retains its own identity and style whilst still complimenting each other to exist together as one entity. Having three composers also means that every third of the way through the soundtrack there’s always a fresh burst of energy. As a result the soundtrack never gets a chance to lag or die down due to a lack of creativity. Never once do you feel that the soundtrack is being repetitious. The Sin City Soundtrack is engaging with a mood and attitude of its own.