Thomas Newman – The Adjustment Bureau *Review In English*

“it is far from Newman’s great score but his style doesn’t fail to be charming and pleasing.”

Soundtrack Label: Relativity Music Group

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is a romantic thriller based on the Philip K. Dick’s Adjustment Team. The film sets out as a romantic story of a congressman David Norris and a ballerina Elise Sellas who fall in love with each other at their first sight. However, the romance between them is not going to get easy when it is interfered by a group of men who claim that they are from “The Adjustment Bureau”, the mysterious organization which ensures that people’s lives will proceed as they are determined by “The Plan”.

I have to say that I feel rather weird seeing Thomas Newman attached to the project. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was another film directed by Sam Mendes who always has Newman as his regular composer in any film genre, though his JARHEAD is so un-Newman score and it has indicated some of composer’s weakness so far. Now, for THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, the director is George Nolfi who has used various services from various composers and he dares to try Newman for part romantic and part thriller genre. As far as I know, Newman is the perfect choice for romantic and drama genre. But for the thriller and action genre, he is surely not that perfect.

The score consists of many Newman elements that his fans (including me) can usually expect. There is no explicit theme but it does survive mostly with melodic play and some motifs. Nonetheless, I surprisingly find the score quite disappointing as there is not enough development on motifs to relate to. It is such an unfortunate comparing to many of his previous no-explicit-theme works. Still, I am not saying that it is bad because there are things I would like to discuss more about below.

As the score has two parts or areas for the music, the romantic one is far better. It’s absolutely moving and heavenly sounded by Newman’s orchestral trademark and some modern approach. The first track that stands out as the highlight immediately is Elise. It opens with some cool rock intro before the beautiful performance of strings and light synthetic sounds that dance around nicely. Following the glamour, The Girl On the Bus is a light and fun track with percussive rhythms. Four Elections and Real Kiss decently make themselves piano-based tracks in tender atmosphere. None of Them Are You is very touching and it comes with a familiar ROAD TO PERDITION melody performed well by oboe and strings. Moreover, The Ripples Must Be Endless (End Title) does the score big favor as a beautifully epic track at last.

As for the thriller part, it is dark and exciting at some points. The synthetic percussions play the main role as they can be heard actively in Inflection Points and Square-One Reset. Then, they slow down in Richardson and New Leaf before they return to their active mode in Pier 17. According to those tracks, they are consistently listenable but they really don’t have any interesting progression. I just feel like Newman can’t come up with any new idea and he only keep them beating to maintain the standard volume. If there is a single track to pay attention to however, it will be Escher Loop due to its suspenseful climax with piano motifs from Four Elections at the end.

The score in the album is also accompanied by other three rock songs which are OK. But it could have been better if they are not inserted with the score like this because they really tear it apart.

In conclusion, it is far from Newman’s great score but his style doesn’t fail to be charming and pleasing. Therefore, most of the tracks don’t make me feel empty or too average but his action/thriller materials will need to be improved somehow.

Tracklist

01. Fate (***)

02. Inflection Points (****)

03. Elise (*****)

04. Four Elections (****)

05. Future’s Bright (-)
Performed By Richard Ashcroft

06. The Girl On the Bus (****)

07. Square-One Reset (****)

08. Richardson (****)

09. None of Them Are You (*****)

10. New Leaf (****)

11. Pier 17 ((****)

12. Recalibration (***)

13. The Substrate (****)

14. Real Kiss (****)

15. Fever (Adam Freeland Extended Remix) (-)
Performed By Sarah Vaughan

16. The Illusion of Free Will (***)

17. Escher Loop (****)

18. The Ripples Must Be Endless (End Title) (*****)

19 Are You Ready? (-)
Performed By Richard Ashcroft

Final Score: 8

Buy It @Amazon (Buy MP3)

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