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Soundtrack review: Man to man (Patrick Doyle, 2005)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Man to man (Patrick Doyle, 2005)


“Man to man” is a historical drama about scientist conducting research in Africa in the 1870s. The theme is a familiar territory for Patrick Doyle, as is the director, Regis Wargnier. The two have collaborated on 6 movies (I think only Kenneth Branagh has featured Doyle’s music in more movies), including two of my favorite Doyle compositions (Indochine and La ligne droite, links).
As expected, Patrick Doyle can’t go wrong in this context. The score is beautiful and dramatic. It’s the usual orchestral greatness from Doyle.  “Man to man” is an extremely enjoyable listen; it captures my attention from the first cue and doesn’t let me go until it ends. It’s the kind of beautiful, lyrical orchestral score that you get immersed in follow with the same excitement with which you would follow a movie.
Dramatic cues like “Capsized”, “Likola kills” or “Alexander’s arrow” remind me that this score is for a historical drama, and the music does a great job is emulating the experience of actually watching that kind of movie. It has the same wealth of sensations that a movie has, and it’s a statement on the true value of “Man to man”. Patrick Doyle carefully crafts his own scenes and leads the listener through the path he wants. Even if the score is only 40 minutes long, it’s enough to create a mood, to keep you from what you were doing and make you focus only on listening to it. The theme buds in some cues are enough to keep the level of excitement about this score high.
There are enough beautiful orchestral Patrick Doyle scores with which I have an emotional connection, scores that I might listen to more often than this one. But for a score totally new for me, this one really hit the spot. “Man to man” remains a beautiful score that I really enjoyed listening to once, a way above average orchestral treat. Even with his constant level of excellence, Patrick Doyle still manages to surprise me…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 79/100
Total minutes of excellence: 31/39
 Album excellence: 79%
Cues to listen to:
Suite From “Man To Man”
Main Title And The Rapids
Abigail’s Feeling
Measuring The Pygmies
Likola Kills
Alexander’s Arrow
The Net
Apes And Mankind
The Kidnapping Of Likola
Catching Elena
In The Snow
The Return Of Likola
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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