The seventh and penultimate entry into the internationally successful Harry Potter franchise is also one of the series’ darkest, and composer Alexander Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Queen, The Painted Veil) infuses the young wizard’s world with the appropriate amount of gravitas. It’s been a decade since John Williams set the tone for the films, and his original theme exists only in the shadows of Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1. Desplat’s score is both subtle and huge, lending quiet emotional depth (“Harry & Ginny”), playful wickedness (“Death Eaters”), and tense, robust action (“The Oblivation”) with masterful precision. Film series that employ this many different composers (and directors, for that matter) rarely find cohesion, and this first installment of Deathly Hallows does nothing in the way to tarnish that achievement.
by James Christopher Monger