After writing some mediocre scores for mediocre films such as Chain Reaction & Executive Decision, Goldsmith has recently got back to his absolute best with brilliant scores for films such as Air Force One, The Ghost & the Darkness, & The Edge. His work here, however, is arguably the pick of the crop. Goldsmith could hardly fail to be inspired by Curtis Hanson's masterful adaption of James Ellroy's novel, & he provides a dramatic, powerhouse score. This score is typically Goldsmithian, with harsh, attacking string rhythms, and some stormingly vicious percussive writing - most notably where the two are combined in the opening track 'Bloody Christmas'. He also makes extremely good use of percussive piano rhythms, particularly at the low end of the scale, which is very typical of this composer. The melodic base of the score is a quite wonderful theme, usually entrusted to the solo trumpet - which links the score not only to the masterful Chinatown, but also to some songs featuring the playing of Chet Baker & others. Indeed, the film features possibly the most assured use of music (including those songs) that I have ever seen - easily matching the brilliance of Scorsese. This pure score CD is a wonderful listen, unfailingly thrilling & dramatic. That Titanic won the oscar over this gem is undoubtedly a tragedy, but not surprising, given it's huge commercial success. Most of all, however, this CD makes you want to watch the film again. Which could never be bad.