Carter Burwell

Twilight [Original Score]

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Review

Carter Burwell's score for the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's massively popular vampire romance saga -Twilight was excerpted on the movie's soundtrack, couching the fittingly delicate "Bella's Lullaby" between songs by Paramore and the film's star, Rob Pattinson. Taken as a whole, Burwell's music for the film is often less brooding than the songs on the soundtrack and adds as much subtlety to a film about a teenage girl falling in love with an 100-year-old vampire as can be added. Despite titles like "How I Would Die" and "The Most Dangerous Predator," his score is rarely heavy-handed, using chilly atmospheres and drones to keep things from getting too obvious. Burwell's work is often steeped in yearning and melancholy, making him a good fit for writing music for a love story that would probably result in death if it were consummated. The romantic pieces are the score's strongest and most interesting moments: "Phascination Phase" telegraphs how gripping infatuation can be with an insistent acoustic guitar and a piano melody that wraps around it; "I Dreamt of Edward" brings an eeriness to its longing with slight atonality; and "Bella's Lullaby" is romantic without being sentimental. Burwell makes sure that the story's underlying threat isn't forgotten, mixing suspense and romantic tension on "I Know What You Are" and "The Skin of a Killer," which, with its complex emotions and undulating melody, is one of the most quintessentially Burwell cues in the score. However, the more action-packed pieces ("Nomads," "Showdown at the Ballet Studio") border on overblown, relying too much on pummeling drums and squealing electric guitars. Even if Twilight isn't one of Burwell's most thoughtful scores, it does convey the story's romance and drama adequately and with more sophistication than other composers might have mustered. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi