Focus Features is 10 years old and to celebrate it has released this collection of music from 18 of its films, some big hitters and some smaller projects. At first this feels like a modern classical album perfect for sticking on whilst staring out of the window with a cuppa. Despite the differing films on offer here (from Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day to Hanna) they have chosen pieces that mostly work very well together.
Eastern Promises (from Eastern Promises) by Howard Shore has a hint of the Baltics and is a surprisingly gentle tune considering the film itself, it has a melancholy feel which reflects the leading characters and has the most traditional classical format. Danny Elfman’s contribution is The Kiss (from Milk); short and sweet with a choral addition. Autumn in Connecticut (from Far From Heaven) is classic Elmer Bernstein, this appropriately could be lifted straight out of a 50s movie and was his last piece of work for a feature film.
There are some other outstanding pieces, La Marche des Bébés (from Babies) by Bruno Coulais is cute and kitsch but feels out of place in this album. Paul Englishby’s Delysia LaFosse (from Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) is a jazzy number befitting the era of the film but again is jarring when listened to in context with the rest of the album. Finally we get an ear blasting from The Chemical Brothers with Container Park (from Hanna); just in case you had fallen asleep this will pound you in the face until you wake up, excellent tune but what is it doing in this collection?
Overall this feels like a showcase album rather than a cohesive listening experience but it’s a good reminder of some of Focus Features contributions to cinema over the last decade.