Wonderfully Odd Film Scores

October 26th, 2016

Wonderfully Odd Film Scores
I was fortunate enough to see 4 very good films at the Vancouver Film Festival which just finished here in Vancouver. What are the odds of me or anyone seeing four films that were either 4 or 5 stars out of 5? Astronomical I would think.
Today, I want to talk about 3 film composers that you may not have heard about. Their scores are haunting and not traditional in any sense and in fact break a lot of the rules which I always enjoy and encourage in others. After all, no sense in having rules, if you can’t break them. Rules were meant to be broken.
I’m also a bit tired of the big orchestra extravaganzas of Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore for example. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and their music but the ocean of music is more than just gentle surf in the sunset – it’s deep and it’s dark and unknown pleasures lurk in the shadows.
One of my favorite films of the festival was “ The Girl with all the Gifts “ which hasn’t been released domestically but I assure you it will and will kill at the box office. No worries, I’m not about to spoil it for you by giving away the ending when the “ girl “ gets a pony for her birthday. Kidding! It’s actually a kitten and a pony! More kidding!
Anyway, the score by Cristobal Tapia de Veer is delightful and as an underscore it accomplishes it’s task perfectly by supporting the visuals and not taking a staring role. Creepy and messed up – well those who know me will understand why I’m gushing. Here’s a sneak peak…

I highly recommend seeing the film. A unique new twist on a tired genre.

The next two scores are not from VIFF 2016 but are from films in the past couple of years.

“ Under the Skin “ scored by Mica Levi is a very odd sci fi film staring Scarlett Johansen. Terrific film and as would only be appropriate, the music burrows under your skin and undulates up your neck. Great score and the combination of electronics and acoustic instruments like viola is unnerving.

And last but not least “ Ex Machina “ scored by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and composer Ben Salisbury. I really like this score because of the restraint used by the composers in terms of instrumentation and complexity of the music. That’s not to say that the music is not complex – it is in a gentle wash of sound way. The beauty of the music is how it sits in the film and how appropriate it is to the story and Ava.

Okay, that’s it! Get off your couch and get into a proper film theatre and see movies as they are meant to be seen and heard. And for God’s sake –don’t watch films on your phone!


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