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End of the Spear

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
End of the Spear
Sounds like … an instrumental soundtrack with a similar melancholic world music feel to The Passion of The Christ, interspersed with five pop tracks from Steven Curtis Chapman, BarlowGirl, Mark Schultz, and Nicole C. MullenAt a glance … the music is well orchestrated and underscores the film's drama, but it's not quite compelling enough to listen to apart from the movie, and only two of the pop tracks seem appropriately included. Track Listing No Greater Love—Steven Curtis Chapman River Requiem Darkness Falls Aftermath Fleeing You Led Me—BarlowGirl Father and Son Mincayani Jaguar Hunt Vengeance Bibanka Amazon Heights Flight of the Wood Bee Deception Tears in the Sand Search Loss Always Love You—Nicole C. Mullen Confession Moving On Memories Mincayani and Dayumae I Will Not Kill First Meeting The Way of the Tribe Time That Is Left—Mark Schultz Desperation She's Gone Rachel's Funeral God Follower—Steven Curtis Chapman

Though it's earned a mixed reaction with mainstream critics, many Christians recognize End of the Spear as an imperfect, better than average Christian film depicting the story of five missionaries murdered by Ecuadorian tribesmen. Whatever your feelings for the movie, chances are they'll directly correlate with your enjoyment of the soundtrack.

The album is mostly comprised of the instrumental score by Ron Owen, who also composed for the Beyond the Gates of Splendor documentary, which covered the same subject matter. Because this single disc has a total of 30 tracks, you'd be right to assume that many of them run a minute or less, better defined as incidental background music than fully developed pieces. It nonetheless successfully underscores the drama of the movie, and the soundtrack does thankfully use real strings instead of synthesizers.

But is it worth repeated listening? "River Requiem" is beautifully melancholic with acoustic guitar, violin, ambient toms, and a wailing female soloist. "Aftermath" is similarly haunting and somber with flutes and strings. By the time "Tears in the Sand" plays midway, it's clear the soundtrack is a series of funeral pieces—appropriate to the film's subject, but ultimately sounding too repetitive and rehashed. All too brief exceptions include the powerfully orchestrated "Father and Son" and "Amazon Heights," but the melodramatic "Jaguar Hunt" sounds lifted from The Lion King or a Bruckheimer film.

Tracks are sequenced chronologically, and the CD booklet does attempt to match the action to the score, which partly explains why five pop songs are interspersed throughout. Unfortunately, Nicole C. Mullen's "Always Love You" is the only new recording, a powerhouse lamentation for a loved one reminiscent of Aerosmith's "Dream On." Steven Curtis Chapman's "No Greater Love" is a perfect inclusion since it's inspired by the story, but the others feel loosely tied in on Word's part—filler for a quality soundtrack that's ultimately not memorable.

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