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Section Header
Point of No Return
(1993)
Composed, Arranged, and Co-Produced by:
Hans Zimmer

Additional Music by:
Nick Glennie-Smith

Vocal Solos by:
Sam Ellis

Guitar Solos by:
Bob Daspit

Co-Produced by:
Jay Rifkin

Label:
Milan/RCA

Release Date:
March 23rd, 1993

Also See:
Drop Zone
Broken Arrow

Audio Clips:
1. Hate (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

2. Happy Birthday, Maggie (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

3. Wedding Bells (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

4. Hells's Kitchen (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release. A straight re-issue in 2009 kept the album available for normal retail prices.

Awards:
  None.









Point of No Return

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Sales Rank: 365572


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Buy it... if you miss the days when Hans Zimmer infused his scores with undeniably alluring style and attitude, both of which spanning the gospel-laced hard rock and redemptive new age keyboarding in Point of No Return.

Avoid it... if you cannot tolerate the mostly synthetic, contemporary tones of Zimmer's relatively low-key and affable character themes that often derived from Rain Man at the time.



Zimmer
Point of No Return: (Hans Zimmer) A remake of Luc Besson's cult 1990 favorite La Femme Nikita, Warner Brothers' 1993 American adaptation, Point of No Return by John Badham, was remarkably faithful to its inspiration in terms of plot, look, and feel. Bridget Fonda replaced Anne Parillaud as the story's famed female assassin, a young woman addicted to drugs who murders a police officer during a robbery and is sentenced to death. Her execution is staged, however, and with a new identity she is secretly trained (albeit without her full cooperation at the start) by a government agency in the assassination and espionage business. She is transformed into a woman capable of refined deception and is successful in several of her assignments before tripping up on her last one and confronting the company cleaner (Harvey Keitel, who else?). The bittersweet conclusion of Point of No Return trades romance for freedom, though the story's arch could be considered one of upbeat redemption. While far more fiscally successful than La Femme Nikita (and inspiring a television series on American cable TV later in the 90's), the film received only mixed reviews due to its strict adherence to the confines of that predecessor. One area in which the two films differ substantially is in the music, Eric Serra's somewhat generic approach to the original discarded and replaced with a compelling combination of Hans Zimmer's strikingly modern score and vintage performances by renown soul singer Nina Simone. The assassin in Point of No Return has a soft spot for Simone's performances and several of her songs are placed directly into the film. The original score was an early Media Ventures project, with Hans Zimmer assisted by Nick Glennie-Smith to produce music that in many ways bridges two eras in Zimmer's career. Thrillers with a touch of sensuality were not new to Zimmer, and Point of No Return emulates some of the composer's trademark 1980's methodology in handling those elements, but he also injects developing incarnations of the synthetic muscularity that would eventually define his career starting with Drop Zone the following year. To extend the Simone influence into a new generation of bad-ass sentiment, Zimmer applies a touch of gospel singing to Point of No Return as well, a sound that this score shares quite effectively with The Preacher's Wife. Together with electric guitar performances of a distinctly cold attitude, Point of No Return is an odd combination of Zimmer's career trademarks that is ultimately overshadowed, oddly enough, by simple keyboarding of an incredibly beautiful theme. Decades later, it endures as a personal favorite for many Zimmer collectors, and for good reason.

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The instrumentation for Point of No Return spans from the watery keyboarding of Rain Man to synthetic-sounding string and brass samples in its support, the gospel vocals and guitar solos, and occasional deeper vocal and electronic contributions during the score's propulsive portions. The "attitude" half of the score is led by a genuinely cool, rocking percussive and string rhythm overlayed with chanted ensemble vocals, roaring guitar solos (a precursor to Drop Zone more than Broken Arrow), and extremely stylish the gospel singing. This identity for the assassin's activities is expressed twice on album, in "Hell's Kitchen" for her first, test assignment, and in "Hate," which is a remarkably powerful opening that includes eerie muted trumpet effects for a hint of film noir and the choral chanting of the word "hate." As impressive as this material is, it cannot ultimately compete in Point of No Return with Zimmer's lovely theme for the assassin's softer self. Introduced with almost new age simplicity later in "Hate," this cue is explored in a variety of emotional states (of mostly optimism) in "Happy Birthday, Maggie." The idea is surprisingly simple in progression, but tragic in its minor-key personality. By the end of the latter cue, Zimmer has infused the light rock and new age elements from Rain Man and Toys into a bright, major-key variation complete with solo woodwind and open trumpet performances over almost giddy keyboard runs. The theme turns dark in "Wedding Bells," in which sampled sound effects typical to Zimmer's 90's scores (such as the pitch-falling effect) and ominous percussion, deep keyboarding and chopping string figures, along with angry whole notes from the guitar, convey the theme with the sense of betrayal in the air that Zimmer would reprise in Broken Arrow. The last minute or two of that cue returns to the mood of its brighter variant. Only the second half of "Hate," however, merges this lightly keyboarded theme with the gospel vocals, yielding the highlight of the score. This three-minute sequence represents everything that was fresh and alluring about Zimmer's career at the time, a sound that he unfortunately jettisoned as his assignments directed him towards a broader orchestral emphasis in later years. Overall, a balance of attitude and style solicits feelings of fortitude and redemption that translate well onto album. The commercial Milan product contains about 25 minutes of score followed by five Simone cuts of about 20 minutes in total. Breaking up the four long Zimmer tracks would help the listening experience, and if the composer had been able to elaborate upon these ideas for a longer score (an expanded bootleg without sound effects only adds roughly five minutes of suspenseful, non-thematic material), the resulting listening experience alongside the Simone tracks could have elevated Point of No Return to the highest rating. ****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Hans Zimmer reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.02 (in 86 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.03 (in 260,492 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.2 Stars
Smart Average: 3.17 Stars*
***** 27 
**** 26 
*** 24 
** 17 
* 20 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Point of No Return Formula
  Bruno Costa -- 1/15/11 (5:03 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 45:36


• 1. Hate (7:26)
• 2. Happy Birthday, Maggie (5:36)
• 3. Wedding Bells (8:06)
• 4. Hells's Kitchen (5:08)
• 5. Here Comes the Sun* (3:35)
• 6. I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl* (2:31)
• 7. Feeling Good* (2:53)
• 8. Wild is the Wind* (6:57)
• 9. Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair* (3:26)

* performed by Nina Simone




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Point of No Return are Copyright © 1993, Milan/RCA. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/16/10 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.