Film Music Examined - A Series of New Film Music Reviews

August 24, 2014

Normally when I watch movies, I want to be totally engaged in the world that the film creates. Most of the time, this means that I’m not totally paying attention to the music. This is generally a good thing, considering that most modern sound-design and loop-oriented film scores aim to propel the kinetic action or emotional subtext of the scene without calling attention to themselves. But recently, I’ve decided to really take apart the music and consider why it has the effect that it does. There are times when the music itself really stands out on its own, and I pay attention to it and it becomes a crucial part of the viewing experience.


In my eyes, there is a shortage of comprehensive film music reviews which singularly target the effect of the music on new films and give a critique. This might be helpful for composers (including myself) and filmmakers working on their craft. It also might be interesting for moviegoers interested in learning a little bit more about film music and how that might inform their experience in the theater. I want to review the material from the perspective of an average, yet observant, viewer.


I decided to start this blog series to discuss what I liked and didn’t like about new film scores, and how they matched and didn’t match the drama, intentionally or unintentionally. Although I will mostly focus on the scenes in which the musical effect stands out to me, I will often focus on other elements of the filmmaking, from writing to cinematography, and everything in between, as those are often intertwined with the music and the story. The primary focus will be original soundtracks, but I also may review instances of creative music editing and supervision, with source music or pre-licensed tracks. All films I see are game – indie or mainstream.


I will consider throughout how well the music inhabits the world and ideas of the film, how well the music illuminates character(s) and emotional subtext, originality, style, and personal voice, and the musical content itself – elements, sound design, instrumentation, texture, melody, language, etc.


Warning, may contain spoilers! :/


Without further ado, enjoy!


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