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Soundtrack review: Indochine (Patrick Doyle, 1992)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Indochine (Patrick Doyle, 1992)


Indochine is a 1992 French film set in colonial French Indochina during the 1930s to 50s. It is the story of a French plantation owner, and of her adopted Vietnamese daughter, with the rising Vietnamese nationalist movement set as a backdrop. It’s Catherine Deneuve’s only Oscar nomination to date.
Patrick Doyle approached scoring this drama with the attention it demanded. What a joy it is for me to listen to such a rich and accomplished orchestral score! When I listen to music like this I realize that Patrick Doyle may very well be the best symphonic composer in the film music world. There are times (when I hear perfect cues like “End of the journey” or “The escape”) when I forget I’m listening to a movie score. I could very well be in the concert hall where my uncle conducts, watching the orchestra give its all. I rarely feel this was about a score, there aren’t many times when a composition just flies away like his and flows so well that it makes me think of an entire concert.
“Indochine” is one of the most beautiful compositions of Patrick Doyle’s career. Actually, it’s one of the most beautiful orchestral compositions ever. It moves me, it thrills me, listening to it is an enriching experience. It’s a score that will be enjoyed by film music fans as well as classical music fans. The second half especially is quite magnificent. “Birth and revolution”, “Vietnamese mothers” or “Elaine finds Camille” and the most beautiful storms of symphonic delight you could possibly listen to. They have heart, they have soul, and they have power. It’s a gorgeous, furious and dramatic string of symphonic pearls which takes me higher and higher, gives me goose bumps galore and makes me forget all about the outside world for almost an hour.
And since this score left me speechless, I will also keep this review short…Just let the music speak to you…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 90 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 48 / 52
Album excellence: 92%
Cues to listen to:
The Adoption
The Burning Boat
We’re Two People
The Thunder Storm
Isle of the Dragon
Camille’s Journey
End of the Journey
The Escape
The Decision
The Road to China
Birth & Revolution
Vietnamese Mothers
The Coffin
Elaine Finds Camille
I No Longer Have a Past

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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