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I wrote a little description of each cue and noted all the source music:   1M1 Sleepers [OST 1 "Sleepers at Wilkinson" 0:00-2:18] The opening titles, just white text on black background,

Since the film seemingly got re-balanced mid-scoring and you can't rely on just sorting by reel/part number to get the chronological order, here it is: 1M1 Sleepers [OST 1 "Sleepers at Wilkinson

OK I fixed the 7M3 part in my write-up   After seeing the film, I have a newfound respect for the score - it's a really damn good one!   The way he uses those low thumping tones fo

I think there are quite a few combined tracks, so it shouldn't be very straightforward. I love this score, I really must take some time to do a full score breakdown

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2 hours ago, Romão said:

I think there are quite a few combined tracks, so it shouldn't be very straightforward. I love this score, I really must take some time to do a full score breakdown

 

I love it too. I've also been considering working on something because I can't find enough information about this score and talk about a score that deserves such detailed analysis. It's the connection between Jurassic Park and A.I. that helped unlock a lot of Williams work for me during that period, including his second presidency.

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I watched the film recently and didn't go back to analyse the OST in great detail, but I did check that T13 Reunion and Finale is the final two cues of the film (overlap at 0:50, despite being separate cues in the film). T2 Hell's Kitchen is the end credits suite.

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1 hour ago, BrotherSound said:

That’s right, though the change between the old and new cue numbering (during which time the film must have been shortened significantly) doesn’t make it obvious.

 

I had wondered why there was no cue after 9M5 for the end credits suite. Made me wonder what the slates were for the penultimate and final cues of the film proper.

 

Mystery solved! Thanks @BrotherSound

 

How unsurprising that the film's dramatic climax, Father Bobby's Decision, is actually represented on album in track 11 by a cue from reel 2 :lol: Reminds me of Grievous Speaks To Lord Sidious being the third last track on the ROTS OST!

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I think it is mostly because people don't care so much to venture beyond the big name scores for big name movies, movies they may not care for anyway.  

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15 hours ago, blondheim said:

You can hear the Island's Voice just around the corner with that descending synth line that seems to represent the suffering at Wilkinson. The first three notes aren't inherently ominous but then it suddenly descends and abruptly ends. I suffer from it and for me, it echoes the micro-traumas of PTSD flashbacks very well. These flashbacks sneak up on you with nostalgic memories of the past that flip quickly. I'm relatively sure the effect was not intentional but it shows me that if you spend enough time over the years sympathizing and musicalizing characters, perhaps you gain insights into sections of the human condition you haven't had the misfortune to explore. I would never assume whether John Williams has and the point is it doesn't matter anyway.

 

All the transient melodies in this score do seem to express never quite feeling comfortable, anywhere, even especially at home or church, or any other place where one should feel safe. There is a sharp sense of the bitter in this score's bittersweet. There is a saying that resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. I think this score embodies that idea.

 

I think it's all very much intentional. The film is about the loss of innocence, so a dark and foreboding mood permeates most tracks - although it's slightly more upbeat in the first half (the first half - prior to the accidental murder - is about recreating a sense of nostalgia for a lost time, anyway, as Levinson almost goes all ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA in the mise-en-scene of 60s New York). The throbbing synth figures as the camera pans through the basement of Wilkinson - with the molestation off-screen - and eventually segues into the time jump to the 80s, is IMO the darkest Williams has ever been. As in "real life" darkness, not fantasy darkness. Fantastic stuff.

 

Whereas something like SCHINDLER'S LIST often feels like a dour experience to sit through, and hence more mood-dependent, I often return to SLEEPERS for this beautiful middle tone between misery and optimistic nostalgia.

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6 hours ago, Thor said:

 

I think it's all very much intentional. The film is about the loss of innocence, so a dark and foreboding mood permeates most tracks - although it's slightly more upbeat in the first half (the first half - prior to the accidental murder - is about recreating a sense of nostalgia for a lost time, anyway, as Levinson almost goes all ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA in the mise-en-scene of 60s New York). The throbbing synth figures as the camera pans through the basement of Wilkinson - with the molestation off-screen - and eventually segues into the time jump to the 80s, is IMO the darkest Williams has ever been. As in "real life" darkness, not fantasy darkness. Fantastic stuff.

 

Whereas something like SCHINDLER'S LIST often feels like a dour experience to sit through, and hence more mood-dependent, I often return to SLEEPERS for this beautiful middle tone between misery and optimistic nostalgia.

 

That's how I feel as well. Maybe it's my own personal experience, but I find this score very affecting. The only moment with any real hope comes towards the end of Finale, which isn't even part of the score proper in a way. Even that is very quickly turned back around to uncertainty, melancholy. Almost self-defeating, the way negative thought loops return. "Maybe things are getting better." Then the other voice scoffs, "Yeah, right."

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18 hours ago, Edmilson said:

I watched the movie recently on Netflix. It was a profoundly moving experience, and one of the reasons for that was John Williams' score. 

 

It's scores like this one, Schindler's List, Born on the Fourth of July and Empire of the Sun show that Williams can score suffering, tragedy and trauma with great care and empathy.

 

Well said. I've really enjoyed discovering some of these older films JW scored throughout the 80s and 90s over the past year. Scores I never listened to and only had a cursory knowledge of the theme suddenly came to life.

 

The Reunion and Finale track from Sleepers never struck me as anything particularly extraordinary... until seeing the film. Suddenly the piece took on whole new meaning; I was struck by the last half in particular. Without understanding what it represented in the film, it might just sound like a lesser JW heroic ending, but with the added context of the harrowing experiences which befall our characters, the music takes on an unexpectedly bittersweet, heartbreaking resonance.

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Some really great thoughts and insights in the recent surge of posts. Thank you all, it is great seeing this score getting some attention and very thoughtful and enlightening analyses.

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6 hours ago, crumbs said:

The Reunion and Finale track from Sleepers never struck me as anything particularly extraordinary... until seeing the film. Suddenly the piece took on whole new meaning; I was struck by the last half in particular. Without understanding what it represented in the film, it might just sound like a lesser JW heroic ending, but with the added context of the harrowing experiences which befall our characters, the music takes on an unexpectedly bittersweet, heartbreaking resonance.


I had the exact same experience, @crumbs!! “Bittersweet” is the perfect descriptor. The scene goes from the temporary victory to a bit of a gut punch, though the characters’ fates are somewhat inevitable.

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I have many issues with this film, and especially with the novel on which is based. There seems to be a lot of fiction despite the author said it's based on true events (but never brought proof that what he told actually happened). IMO, the film is quite heavy-handed and it over-simplifies incredibly treacherous stuff like sexual abuse on kids and PTSD, boiling the whole story down to a Hollywood-esque tale of revenge and atonement. It strives to be a grim Scorsese-like movie, but it ends up more like a TV-Movie-of-the-week drama if it weren't for the all-star cast appearing on the screen.

 

Anyway, it's far from a really bad movie and I think Williams caught the overall tone perfectly with his music score, which I always looked at as a sort of continuation/evolution of his Oliver Stone drama style, but also a sort of homage to Leonard Bernstein's On the Waterfront.

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We just watched the film yesterday!

 

It really felt like they included the entire first act of the story, the entire third act of the story, but completely omitted the entire second act of the story

 

The first act was pretty compelling, with 1960's Hell's Kitchen vividly realized, and a nice juxtaposition of how events in the world around this time like the Vietnam War and rise of feminism had no impact on these particular characters, they were just images on the TV that didn't affect their lives.  The scenes in Wilkinson's were actually less graphic and visceral than I was expecting; Shawshank Redemption from two years earlier had a much more vivid depiction of prison rape and violence.

 

After the first act ended, I wasn't sure where the story was going, and though it was pretty sloppy how it goes right into the murder of Kevin Bacon by 2 of the 4 boys, and then right after that we learn that Brad Pitt has spent 15 years coming up with a revenge plan.  If the film had an actual second act we would have seen these characters grow and adapt a bit during this 15 year prior, see those 2 become killers, see Brad Pitt decide to go to law school come up with this plan, see Dustin Hoffman become a drunk and Brad Pitt realizing he could be useful one day for his plan, all the other pieces being put into motion, etc. 

 

Instead we just jump right into the third act and have his entire plan just play out as he intended, with barely any roadblocks or on-the-fly adjustments to be made.  The only real drama is whether Robert De Niro will lie for them on the stand or not, which didn't take a rocket scientist to see that of course he would.  The ending was pretty good though, the 4 of them finally getting together after having "won", immediately juxtaposed with the fact that 2 of them would be dead in a few years and one flew the country forever.  In the end its a pretty good depiction of how sexual and physical abuse and other trauma can effect your life, but also feels a bit reserved, like there wasn't enough monologues and top-tier acting to really sell it.  It's a bit Hollywood-glossy.  I'm sure the book is better.

 

I almost forgot who was in this movie and kind of wish the opening credits didn't list everybody, because Brad PItt, then Minnie Driver, then Dustin Hoffman show up so late in this film!  I think a better way to adapt this story would be a modern premium channel miniseries, something like 6-8 one-hour parts that really delve into things and actually show the 15 year gap.

 

Oh right, the score.  It was great!  Listening to the OST album now.  I'll type up some comments about the complete set of cues since the movie is fresh in my mind

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This is great, thanks! But how come 3M5 comes after 4M2? It doesn't make any sense if in reel 4 they're still at Wilkinson but on 3 they're getting released?

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18 hours ago, Romão said:

Jason, thank you so much for this.

 

Any rough estimate of the total length of the unreleased music?

 

On 5/30/2021 at 6:27 PM, BrotherSound said:

Looks like there’s about 18-19 minutes unreleased (assuming it was all recorded, of course):

 

1M4 Hell’s Kitchen 0:33

1M8 Teaching Revenge 1:35

3M2 New - Muffled Cries 1:07

4M2 Insert #1 0:30

4M2 Insert #2 0:10

4M3 New - Harlem Source 2:30

5M1 New - King Benny’s Sleepers 0:45

5M1A New - The Old Fire Hydrant 1:00

5M4 New - Michael’s Plan 3:15

5M4 New Insert 1:15

5M4 New - The Fat Man’s Speech 1:05

7M1 New - Ferguson’s Entry At Court 0:31

9M1 New - Passing The Tickets 2:30

9M2 Not Guilty 1:41

 

Doesn’t appear to be a case like The Patriot or Amistad with any major missing highlights, though.

 

Although for some reason BrotherSound's list doesn't include 7M1, the other 7M3, or 7M2New

 

And of course doesn't mention the "probably 7M2" dirty cop cue I mentioned that isn't in the sheet leak (unless that cue is tracked music I didn't recognize)

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I *think* so, yes.

 

The film is long, but there's a LOT of scenes scored by source music.

 

Most of the unreleased cues are fairly short, but I didn't note any timings down.

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1 hour ago, Jay said:
  • 7M3 At Mass (Chorus & Orchestra) [OST 4 Saying The Rosary 0:00-2:22]
  • 7M3 At Mass (Chorus A Cappella) [unreleased]
    Shakes goes to mass and receives communion from Father Bobby, then we see Michael interrogating witnesses in the courtroom
    Both OST and film use a version with orchestra, but it appears an a cappella version was recorded too

 

It's all one cue: 7M3 At Mass (Chorus A Cappella) is just the first 48 seconds.

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