2016 Scores Catch Up-Pocket Reviews

With 2016 well and truly gone and the voting process started as a member of the IFMCA, I am catching up on some last minute soundtracks. Starting with:-

JACKIE – Score by Mica Levi

The filma has just been released here in the UK and Film Critic Matthew Bond in todays Mail On Sunday writes ‘…and fabulously unsettling music from British composer Mica Levi – it’s one of the must-sees of this award season’.  Levi’s score for Under The Skin was was superb as is this  her second score. It’s one of the most segmented soundtracks I have heard,  it beautifully captures the isolation Jackie Kennedy must have gone through.
There is a motif of foreboding, drooping strings heard in the opening track Intro. A stand out track is Autopsy whereby the struggle of grieving combined with duty is symbolised by the background snare drum. It’s a complex, slow score where the silence in between notes has a startling effect.
This powerfully, understated score will change my list of top scores of the year.
At just 29 years of age, I for one hope she continues to compose for film.

GERNICA – Score by Fernando Verlasquez

Not having yet seen the film but knowing that it tells of the conflict of an American journalist reporting on the Spanish Civil War and the enforced republic censorship rules, the  opening track is suitably called Propaganda and matches the old cinema newsreel music of unity and false victory brilliantly.
I’ve Seen War is it’s opposite with heavy truth-telling strings as does the darker Back From The War/The Picture. Reception At City Hall is exquisite and Gernika Under The Bombs at 24:57 is a masterclass in composition. Another strong Velasquez score.

LIVE BY NIGHT – Score by Harry Gregson-Williams

Directed, co-written and starring Ben Affleck this gangster movie set in the 1920’s could have been a chance to re-identify this genre through it’s score but here Gregson-Williams applies overused thriller shades which do not set any particular tones and I found myself waiting, with each cue, to be surprised but it was not to be. An opportunity missed.