Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Review by Edmund Meinerts
ANGELINA JOLIE makes a surprising directorial debut with IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY, a film that uses the love story between a Bosnian POV and the Bosnian Serb overseer of the camp in which she is held captive to depict the atrocities of the Bosnian war. Casting exclusively local actors who themselves lived through the horrific conflict, and with a mostly Bosnian and Serbo-Croatian script, JOLIE has been praised for her sincere attempt to bring this often-forgotten war to the attention of the public. Since its limited release at the end of December, however, the film has picked up some criticism for being too heavy-handed in its message and its dramatized, and some have said caricatured portrayal of the Serbs.
Handling musical duties for this project is Lebanese composer and former art house favorite GABRIEL YARED, who made a splash in Hollywood during the late 1990s on such popular, well-known dramatic and romantic projects as THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE and THE ENGLISH PATIENT. Film music collectors, however, mostly remember his involvement in the musical fiasco of TROY, for which YARED’S enormous score, a labor of love on which the composer had worked for over a year, was unceremoniously replaced by a last-minute JAMES HORNER effort. His career since then has slowed down considerably, only taking on a handful of lesser-known, often foreign films. In short, YARED scores have become somewhat elusive on album, and unfortunately, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY does little to correct that ill.
The main reason for that, as a quick glance at the liner notes will readily make apparent, is the fact that YARED’S contribution to the film is limited to only a little more than a quarter of the album, comprising the first four tracks. The rest is devoted to source songs by little-known Bosnian artists, with the notable exception of the U2 and BRIAN ENO single “Miss Sarajevo” (5), which combines BONO’S downbeat, contemporary voice with an unexpected solo from robust opera tenor LUCIANO PAVAROTTI, to surprisingly effective genre-bending collaboration. Given the subject matter of the well-known song, its inclusion on the soundtrack is unsurprising, but it did not appear in the film.
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