The Last Page is a film about inspiration, triumph, heartbreak, and perseverance. What seems to be potentially mundane in the early part of the story leads to a rollercoaster of emotions. This journey and the other-worldly-reality of it all is magnified and delivered with precision by the score which composer Eiko Jin created. The normal elements that the music serves to support are found here in The Last Page but they are not the obvious choices and usage that film audiences have come to expect. The story is not your typical superhero tale and the heroes are less intuitive, which makes Jin’s choices all the more important and memorable. The unexpected hero, the unassuming hero, and the natural hero are all represented in this story of love among family members and the loss and triumph over personal tragedy. The Last Page simultaneously presents the hyperbolic view of greatness and its realistic representation. Eiko’s sonic backdrop is the exponent that magnifies each of these but with drastically different approaches.
The Last Page tells the story of a comic book writer who creates a character called “Bioman” for his brother who has a disability and is forced to use a wheelchair for his mobility. This author created the story of Bioman to convince his brother that even a superhero can share this same challenge. Rather than feeling trapped in a wheelchair, Bioman’s abilities are supplied from his wheelchair. Once his brother passes away the writer becomes defeated and abandons writing stories of Bioman until a fan collects all his discarded story drafts from the trash. Discovering these drafts at his front door, the writer has a fantasy dream upon returning to his former work room. His imaginative creation of Bioman and his world become real to him, causing him to take up his mission of writing Bioman again. Hiring the fan who collected the drafts he abandoned to become his assistant, we witness appreciative readers who are disabled and come to an event to thank him for creating Bioman and communicate how he has inspired them as he did his brother not so long ago.
Martell Hasley (Producer of The Last Page) wanted to communicate the thought that we all possess some type of ability to help others, sometimes even if we don’t recognize it. Hasley sought out Eiko as one of the visionary artists with whom he likes to collaborate in film. The producer relates that while he feels he has the ability to manifest what he desires visually; he believes that music is such an important part to delivering his message in impactful stories. Martell notes, “I had the great opportunity to collaborate with Eiko on ‘The Last Page.’ The film was a dynamic drama that was made in effort to spread the message of ‘Living Beyond Limits.’ We made the film in collaboration with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I use the term ‘collaboration’ when I refer to my experience with Eiko for a certain reason. Although she was commissioned, it quickly became clear to me that Eiko was much more than your standard film composer. She brought so much passion and understanding to the project. She not only took direction from myself and team, but also lent a special touch to the overall soundscape of the film. She was intuitive and engaged every step of the way. She has a unique delicacy when it comes to telling the story through her music, and is also bold and experimental with her sound. Working with her expanded my team’s musical senses and brought the project to life in a way we couldn’t imagine. Eiko Yichen Jin, is a classic talent.”
Jin utilized both a traditional and contemporary element for “The Last Page.” The somber nature of a good portion of the film was enhanced by a main theme melody. This melody would appear at different moments and immediately allow the audience to tap into that emotion. This was augmented by minor key changes for darker moments and major key influences for more heroic ones. She notes that her instrument choice was key. The harp (one of Jin’s personal favorites) ushered in moments of tender emotion and elegance while synths immediately conjured science fiction sensibilities. It’s not apparent when watching the completed film but it took a fair amount of interpretation on Eiko’s part to achieve the successful score. She reveals, “The filmmakers wanted some music that was actually non-describable. When working with creative professionals who are not versed in music terminology and verbiage, they often speak about feelings and emotions. Feelings are abstract things, like love or a ghost. Nobody sees feelings yet they understand what they are. It was my job to capture the right feeling from reference music that they would send to me, analyze it and then create something unique that still has the emotional essence they desired. In “The Last Page”, I used regular instruments and synths at the same time for different scenes. Based on the fact that the film won awards, I’d say that our ability to find our own way to communicate and create the emotional impact with the music worked out quite well.”
The message of loss found in the film is something everyone can relate to, including its music composer. Eiko confirms that the scene in which the comic book writer is crying for his brother and yelling ‘Somebody come to help!’ resonated with her in recalling the loss of a close family member and not simply music that she wrote for this scene. Actors often reference this type of personal situation to muster up the authenticity of the emotion in their performance and this musician is no different. While Eiko is not familiar with the comic book world, she is a creative professional who strives to give her best and communicate emotional stories to others. While the world of “The Last Page” may not be similar to her own, the joys and pain found in this film are something she can understand. The musical score which she created for this story is her own way of doing what the main character does…inspire the greatness we all can find in ourselves by using the abilities we possess.