The soundtrack for Ang Lee’s NC-17 erotic thriller, Lust, Caution, is a beautifully constructed work that has twilight at its center. There is enough light in the waning day to see but enough night to know that the day is over, and an overwhelming sense of the beautiful in your presence. This provides an ambient feeling of softness and intrigue. This is where French composer, Alexandre Desplat succeeds in this film score (his others include The Queen; The Painted Veil, a collaboration with Lang Lang; Syriana; Hostage). His musical pieces begin as soft, lulling, almost dreamy selections that give emotion to the seduction and settings of the film and its characters.
Interesting, the lead-off composition, “Lust, Caution,” has an underlying sense of foreboding before it gives way to the first half of the entrancingly soft compositions found on this 24-track album (22 original tracks + 2 excellent bonus tracks – “Seduction,” “Desire.”) The second half is filled with superbly scored intensities. On “Nanjing Road,” Ang Lee contributes piano work. If I find fault with the compositions, it is this, that the pieces are not expanded enough to draw me in further. With music as lovely as this, you want to fall into it and stay under the waves for awhile. However, we do realize that it is a soundtrack and, thus, must come up for air after mere minutes. But it is an enveloping work.
As always, it is essential that the score of any film be in sync with the story. It has to convey the moods, the settings, and the character emotions to the point that they are inseparable. In some cases, the score can easily exist away from the film due to its gorgeousness, more to its ability to touch our sense of beauty than to its ability to help ‘inside the film.’ Desplat has created such a work with his beautiful Lust, Caution score.