By Stuart Campbell
‘As long as we are learning from our mistakes, we are safe.’
This sentiment sets the prophetic tone for the disaster to follow. Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is about the arrival of a huge American chemical company and the pesticide plant that was built to feed jobs into a destitute town and give back some prosperity. Some because like all major companies determined to make a profit, its better to share a little rather than a lot. What followed was the devastating fallout that emerged over one night in December 1984. The greed to make more than what was necessary drives a company to push the limits of safety and concern for the well being of its work force to the limits. Corners that were cut and regulations that were swept aside hastened the disaster that was to leave thousands dead and a fallout of poisonous gas that would go on to kill even more in the coming weeks.
There is a hopeful tone that simmers throughout this score, it keeps a shadowy presence that emerges when it begins to look like all hope was forsaken. The track, ‘Bhopal’ uplifts the feeling of dread and you can almost feel the sunshine breaking through the clouds. ‘A Prayer for Rain’ could almost be the revelatory song from an Andrew Lloyd Webber production, but wraps the score up well and returns that same hope that was lost, back to the faces of the survivors.
The main body of the score though has a very dark atmosphere, a foreboding of the disaster that unfurls slowly at first and then takes of a greater pace as the night of panic and fear plunges the town into the horror that was to come. Somewhat knowingly, there is a nice hint of Hans Zimmer in these pieces and this keeps the dread from losing any dramatic punch.
These types of film can be a mix bag. Some can be overly sentimental and tug to harshly at the heart strings and then others cannot be serious enough and turn into a Sunday afternoon movie that you couldn’t care less for. What can help distinguish these two is the score. Thankfully Bhopal has an emotional soundtrack that keeps you rooting for help and aid and rescue.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is out now from MovieScore Media