Composer Atli Örvarsson says the key words in his conversations with Kevin Macdonald, the director of The Eagle, were "handmade and authentic." The film, based on the historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth, is set in second-century Britain, and in order to be handmade and authentic, Örvarsson employed period instruments and some traditional themes. In particular, he used a lot of Celtic music, played on Uilleann pipes, and lots of tribal drumming. But that is not to say that he stuck to this sort of thing. Rather, the period material acts as a flavoring to what is really largely an orchestral score. But it does give an individual feel to what otherwise might be generic. Örvarsson certainly has no trouble following the adventurous turns of the epic's plot, but the Celtic music brings things down to earth in a satisfying way.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann