Trapped / 2002 Composed

# Title Duration
Main Titles 1:29
Goodbyes 1:25
Abduction 3:10
Plan of Seduction 8:16
Cat in Heaven 0:53
Inconvenient Call 5:32
The Mood for Love 5:23
He Will Kill 4:40
Hotel Visitors / Screw Up 4:23
Like Mother Like Daughter 1:23
Paralysis 4:22
Does He Know / Dust 2:14
It's Showtime 8:16
Temporary Reunion 3:18
Bad Game 2:18
Crazy Rescue 7:19

John's Thoughts

The story of Trapped involves a happy family whose life is turned upside down by the likes of a troubled kidnapper (Kevin Bacon) and his cohort wife (Courtney Love). A gifted and wealthy young doctor is off on a business trip, and his wife (Charlize Theron) is home with their 6-year-old daughter, Abby (Dakota Fanning). Abbey is abducted and Hickley (Bacon) stays with the mother, as his cousin holds Abby at a cabin. Simultaneously, Cheryl (Love) holds the doctor in his hotel room. The plan is to access $250,000 from their account the next morning, and then Abby will be handed over. After-all they've gotten away with this a few times before. Only there's something different this time. Hickley is strangely troubled.

Musically, although the tension buttons had to be pushed based upon the genre of the film, the idea was not to score overtly "evil" or obviously "suspenseful." I felt that more effective suspense would be created through reminding the audience psychologically of the bond between mother and child. The music would be far more effective tapping on the torn emotional bond rather then just blasting away with pure terror. The moment you can get into the personal psyche of the audience, the more gripping the experience will be, and the more meaningful the film will be as well. Naturally there are practical constraints, but this was the over-all attempt. I came up two main themes, both of which sort of have dual personalities to them. One, a sort of simple piano-driven motif served to reflect the family. This theme is rich with conflicting emotions -- it often expresses agony with tinges of forboding, but at the same time flows with emotions of familial love. The other theme is basically Hickley's. At first we think his strange music of over-lapping strings, percussion and bells is simply telling us the histronics behind his dubious profession, but as it develops, it actually suggests the sadness of his own life, and personal loss. When I was presented with an unexpected last-minute title sequence to score, it became logical that his theme become the main theme of the film. I wanted his music to be twisted, yet longing in some way as well, suggesting to the audience that the film may have some more levels to it. That's why I am such a believer in title sequences! I love being able to suck the audience into the patiche of a film.

So far I've been blessed with some really wise directors, and Luis Mandoki is one of them, especially musically. Often when a director wants a change in a cue, you're prepared to debate the issue; being an action/suspense score I anticipated he'd want alot of surface level testosterone, as opposed to taking a more, oft-slower psychological approach. So when he came in and wanted some cues to revert in that direction, I was actually glad to dump some of that machismo and tap more upon the score's introspective features. Learning the taste of the people you work with is tantamount to producing a product that works, and when your tastes are in sync, it's even better. You're also inclined to get defensive about your cues when there is a disagreement, yet when there was a suggestion to change a part of a cue, it would dawn on me that Luis' emotional descriptions of what he felt should change were right; it was immediately clear to me that I had screwed up. It's hard to argue when you suddenly realize you agree! My funniest memory is the entourage that had to be crammed into my currently small studio. Each week I'd drag down the dining room chairs and jammed them in the tiny room for Luis and five other people to squeeze into. Inevitably as I would start a cue, a leaf blower would start up outside the window, and then the sounds of rakes, helicopters, etc. I really need to move!

There was very little time to write the score, and as the budget was dumping source music left and right, the minutes of score kept increasing. I ended up performing and writing 85 minutes in four weeks, plus source cues all the way down to cartoon music on a background TV set. We had just 17 hours to record the entire score, which was sort of a blood-bath, uh, to say the least. The bulk of the music is my synth-programming and performances, as we could only afford 20 musicians, which was a bit demoralizing. But in the end, the limitations of budget added to the eclectic quality of the score.