Rachel Portman

Infamous [Music from the Motion Picture]

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Rachel Portman's original score for Douglas McGrath's Truman Capote biopic Infamous is one of her most signature efforts. Full of understated grace and tension, her way of whispering a narrative along, incrementally building tension to a breaking point albeit with swing, jazz and pop interludes that frame the era perfectly -- it's all there. On Infamous, Portman doesn't need to move the plot along so much as freeze frame it in the brain of the viewer when seen onscreen. When heard, however, the effect is one of melancholy moments, bittersweet harmonic gestures, and poetic understatement. Of course there are some additions to the set as well as original music. The reading of Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love," sung by Gwyneth Paltrow is rather startling -- and no, not in a good way -- she is flat, lifeless, and utterly tepid, despite a band that is fiery and swinging with a fingerpopping verve; bassist Mark Rubin is particularly engaging here, though, as well as on the Hoffman and Klenner classic "Heartaches." Other aspects of the soundtrack listeners may find delightful are Johnny Bond's reading of Harlan Howard's "How About You," and the late Dusty Spirngfield's beautiful recording of "Yesterday When I Was Young."

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