Thomas Newman – The Debt *Review In English*

“This score could have been dropped average if there was no Newman’s magic enhancing it.”

Soundtrack Label: Relativity Music Group / Silva Screen Records

THE DEBT is a remake of 2007 Israeli spy thriller called HAHOV, HACHOV. The initial story is set in 1965 when three Mossad agents; Rachel Singer, Stephan Gold, and David Peretz crossed into East Berlin to capture Dieter Vogel, the WWII criminal a.k.a. The Surgeon of Birkenau, and brought him to justice. The mission ended with the death of Vogel as he tried to escape and three of them have later become national heroes. However, the truth of what really happened has never been informed to anyone but themselves until the next 30 years, it returns to haunt them.

Thomas Newman has once again challenged himself in action/thriller area. While his THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is part romantic and part thriller, THE DEBT is more concentrated on the latter part along with its dark drama.

All Newman’s trademark in both orchestra and electronic instruments are here. Percussions and ambient music are expectedly in charge for the most part including the melodic play. Firstly for thematic materials, Newman has created one simple but effectively suspenseful motif performed by strings accompanied with the ambiences. It is heard briefly in The Wrong Man and disguisedly used throughout the score. Only Airplane Open and Safe House are the tracks that make the motif noticeable and point out the suspenseful mood in full form properly.

Secondly, Newman has also created the action motif which consists of fast-paced strings, active percussions, and intense electronic elements. It is heard in An Unscheduled Stop, One More Parcel, and Unfinished Business which make me feel, in a good way, like the soft-core version of John Powell’s THE BOURNE trilogy.

Next, for the percussive section, it seems rather dragging but still listenable at best. Ghost Station is pretty cool with some stirring and stylish rhythms, even though it smells too pleasant for genre in my opinion (funnily, his THE HELP suddenly pops up into my mind when I listen to it). By the way, One More Parcel I have mentioned before is the direct action mode of this track too. Then, How to Die (Main Title) features again the suspenseful motif but this time with guitar and some more percussive thematic materials that are also used throughout the score. The Debt (End Title) is a track that arranges most of the score’s materials into one long piece. Nonetheless, it still seems dragging and I don’t feel that its 8-minute length is well-handled enough to be a 5-star track as it should.

For the small pleasure, Berlin Checkpoint and Elsa Roget bring the usual Newman in his specialized area. These two tracks are connected by beautiful piano motifs and, of course, the latter track is the best of both.

Overall, this score could have been dropped average if there was no Newman’s magic enhancing it. Nonetheless, he may need to prove himself more if he still lives in this action/thriller environment in which I hope his James Bond’s project SKYFALL will be better than this.


01. The Wrong Man (***)

02. Ghost Station (****)

03. Airplane Open (****)

04. How to Die (Main Title) (****)

05. Berlin Checkpoint (****)

06. Silver Locket (****)

07. The Surgeon of Birkenau (****)

08. Shaving Roaches (***)

09. An Unscheduled Stop (****)

10. Safe House (****)

11. Air (****)

12. We’d Be Free (****)

13. One More Parcel (*****)

14. Newspaper Raid (****)

15. Elsa Roget (*****)

16. Unfinished Business (****)

17. Visiting Hours (***)

18. The Full Injection (***)

19. The Debt (End Title) (****)

Final Score: 8

Buy It @Boomerang


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