Music Composed, Conducted
And Produced By Alex Heffes
Performed By The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra
Choir Conducted By Jasper Randall
Silva Screen Records SILCD 1356
13 Tracks – Running Time: 56:11
The Rite which came out earlier this year marks another thriller that would perfect for a Halloween treat. The film stars Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donagahue, Alice Braga, Toby Jones, Rutger Hauer and Ciran Hinds. Michael (O’Donaghue) is the son of a funeral director grows indifferent to his father and joins a Seminary. who on his way to the course completion is overwhelmed by a strong lack of faith. His religious beliefs are further jolted when he sees a young girl haplessly dying in a road accident for whom he reluctantly performs the ritual to absolve her sins. His mentor Father Matthew (Jones) still believes in him and urges him to go to Italy to take an exorcism course hoping that he it would strengthen his faith in Christianity. In Italy he attends a session from Father Xavier (Hinds) who soon becomes aware of his skepticism and as a result he sends him to an eminent Jesuit exorcist Father Lucas (Hopkins) whose ways though questionable are very effective. After Father Lucas performs an exorcism on a litlte girl, Matthew is still skeptical until a real challenge that would test both his faith and soul to save another life comes into the fold.
Director Mikael Hafstrom who previously made the underrated Stephen King adapation of 1408 which featured a very entertaining and at times spine tingling score by Academy Award winner Gabriel Yared, made and chose a rather interesting composer for this film. Alex Heffes, a British born composer who wrote the score for one my favorite and underrated films in recent memory the political thriller “State of Play” starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, writing a moody, but energetic thriller score for that film. Heffs score for this film is one genuine suspense and rhythm rather than supernatural horror and shock with the usual brass stings that you’d expect in a film like this which ironically is more dramatic than horror. The style of the score is vaguely remeniscent of the work of Mychael & Jeff Danna, which isn’t a bad blueprint to follow if done correctly.
The album starts off with “The Procedure” is moody and rhythmic track establishing a plaintitive keyboard melody and plusing synthesizer beats. “Going to Rome” is an energetic piece with a fast paced strings and a nice choral ensemble track that signals urgency and also a longing for faith much like the character of Michael. “The First Exorcism” is a moody and aggressive track with more urgent strings and repeating growling brass figures then siegeing into a palette of percussion effects. “God’s Fingernail” is a reflective and gentle piece as piano evoke a sense of calm and mediation. The score does get a little more aggressive with it’s darker and even moodier material in “Rosaria Coughs Up The Nails”, “The Terror Is Real”, “Exorcism of Lucas Part 1” and “The Final Exorcism” where the music takes a more full blown grandiose tone which include a brass fanfare and a nice choral finale signaling a victory for the main character sprititually as well as physically for those around him. “The Farewell” is a strong and melodic coda to the score and the album that is very emotional in it’s string work evoking the good and not the darkness as well as a reprise of Michael’s piano theme from the first track.
Silva Screen’s album features a very healthy and entertaining amount of music at over 56 minutes which makes for a rather interesting listen. For most, it might be a little too much and for others, they’ll find it as interesting as i did. It’s not an earth shattering score in the sense that it is memorable because there a lot to like about it, but there is also a minus which is the lack of a main central theme that you could hang your hat on and run with for the course of its running time. There is good music that makes up for it however. Heffes does an effective job here fully ultilizing the full range of the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and choir at his disposal.
The Rite may or may not be a horror movie to most, but it does have a rather chilling and suspenseful score by a newcomer that should hopefully get some bigger and better projects down the line.
Scored for full orchestra and choir, the powerful music for THE RITE is by Award-Winning composer ALEX HEFFES (Dear Frankie SIL-CD-1164, Touching The Void, State Of Play, The Last King Of Scotland)
1. The Procedure
2. Going To Rome
3. The Accident
4. The First Exorcism
5. God’s Fingernail
6. Rosaria Coughs Up The Nails
7. Michael Remembers/The Hospital
8. Angeline’s Story
9. Phone Call To Father
10. The Terror Is Real
11. Exorcism Of Lucas Pt 1
12. The Final Exorcism
13. The Farewell
– Danny Gonzalez
Film Music Examiner NEW YORK- NYC