Pino Donaggio

Raising Cain

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Pino Donaggio's score for the twisty Brian De Palma thriller Raising Cain is appropriately creepy and a little jumpy, but ultimately not very scary, since it hams things up as much as the film's director and actors. While Cain was, on the surface, an effective psychological thriller, De Palma's style eventually overtook his substance, and the shadowy nature of the characters' true identities allowed his actors to rely heavily on suggestion. This worked incredibly well for John Lithgow in the starring dual role, but was soon lost in the plot's maze of blind corners and shadowy affiliations. Likewise, Donaggio's score seems to lose depth as it moves along. The title theme wonderfully intersects a child's music box with threatening strings and a hint of hopeful piano, and Donaggio uses the music box effect throughout the score with success. But too much of the soundtrack sounds simply functional, as if its initial originality was kidnapped by conventional thriller music scare tactics.

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