John Williams' score for Roland Emmerich's The Patriot matches the film's epic scope and melodramatic excesses. Though the playing and production are admittedly masterful and the film's main theme is genuinely moving, too often the score works too hard at stirring the audience's emotions. Pieces that should be rousing, such as "The Colonial Cause" -- which fuses a melody that sounds a bit like Sgt. Barry Sadler's "Ballad of the Green Berets" with grandiose strings, horns and bombs-bursting-in-air percussion -- just feel overworked. Likewise, with its lurching brass and pummeling drums, "Tavington's Trap" is almost as much of a caricature of menacing movie music as the exaggeratedly evil Colonel Tavington is in the movie. Finally, the downright manipulative "Susan Speaks" jerks the tears out of your eyes for you with syrupy strings, pennywhistles, and harps. The Patriot's overbearing moments are made all the more frustrating by the pieces that actually do work. The hopeful, lighthearted "To Charleston" sets the tone for the early part of the film, while the tense (but not overblown) marches, "Preparing For Battle" and "Facing The British Lines," capture the dynamics of the battlefield. Despite their too-descriptive titles, "Redcoats at the Farm and the Death of Thomas" and "The First Ambush and Remembering the Wilderness" span sadness, fear, and rage, yet remain relatively restrained. Unfortunately, restraint seems to be the only technique that The Patriot's score uses sparingly.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares