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Soundtrack review: The visitor (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 2007)

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“The Visitor” was an interesting listen because it managed to tell me exactly what the character and movie are about. This is the brilliance of it, and it’s another of the unforgettable Jan Kaczmarek gems….

 

“The visitor” was a drama from 2007 about a lonely man in late middle age. The movie is sad and serious and has no trace of a happy ending. The main character takes piano lessons in an effort to remember his late wife, a concert pianist. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s score, expectedly, features piano heavily.

Interestingly, the score includes three tracks named “Walter’s etude no 1”, “Walter plays half of his etude no 1” and “Walter plays etude no. 2 with almost no mistakes”, which I imagine are part of Walter’s piano lessons. These three cues sound simple and innocent. In fact, this simplicity marks almost every cue. It’s a meaningful simplicity, with a shadow of inescapable sadness in it.

As the character is an everyman, the music was written to reflect that. There’s nothing extraordinary about the cues, you don’t get amazing 6 star cues that rock your world and give you goose bumps. The variations are small, both joy and sadness move within short ranges. Every sound mirrors the life of the main character. “The visitor” plays like a couple of autumn leaves flowing on the stream the rain made on the side of a street…The solo piano and the violin communicate everything the composer wants to tell us, and I understand.

So why 2 minutes of excellence in a score similar to the man portrayed in the movie, lacking such notions? Because “The loneliness” just reaches a familiar place inside me and I feel it closer than the rest of the score. Even so, “The Visitor” was an interesting listen because it managed to tell me exactly what the character and movie are about. This is the brilliance of it, and it’s another of the unforgettable Jan Kaczmarek gems….

Cue rating: 60 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 49

Album excellence: 4%

Highlights:

The loneliness

About the author

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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