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Soundtrack review: Unfaithful (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 2002)

Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: Unfaithful (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 2002)

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I remember getting the “Unfaithful” soundtrack because I really loved the trailer music. Back then I wasn’t really familiar with the fact that most times trailer music is done by special sound companies and has nothing to do with the actual score… The trailer music for “Unfaithful” stuck with me for years, it was “Nara” by E.S Posthumus. It’s a brilliantly chilling piece.
I also remember the movie because I thought it was spectacularly miscast. Richard Gere played the main character. His wife cheats on him and he discovers. Everything that happens from then on and all his subsequent reactions were better suited for Harrison Ford. But I digress…

I’m not surprising anyone when I say that Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s score is beautiful. It’s hard for me to find another word to describe the low key piano, the subtle motifs or the way the music flows. I am very happy that I loved that trailer music so much and that this score was so different from it. The music has a rich texture; I get something interesting from almost every cue: the accordion induced melancholy in “Triangle”, the haunting whispered echo of a female voice in “Farewell” and “Car wash”, the subdued, dripping hatred I hear in “Cold bathtub”. On “Sudden turn” and “The visit” you can actually hear a woman sobbing in the background from time to time, almost following the tune… I don’t even think I should call it sobbing, what I hear is a woman shivering… These cues with vocal, lyric less inserts could also work very well on haunted house movies. “The globe” is actually creepy and makes me relive the scene from the movie.

The main theme, “Unfaithful”, is both accusing and remorseful in tone, as if it were a dialogue between the two main characters. It is a gorgeous theme in the style of 70s or 80s French romance movies. It builds up and breaks your heart but you can’t stop listening to it because it’s so beautiful.
Kaczmarek knows the piano like no other. There’s actually also a piano version of the main theme, strange because for me the original version was all about the piano. This version is simpler and more intimate, stripped of any sounds other than the solo piano.

“Burning pictures” is almost as magnificent as the main theme. It’s heavy with sadness and melancholy and everything fades at the end. “Together” and “Silence” end the score on a slightly louder tone than the rest of it, reminding me of how the movie ended.
“Unfaithful” hits the bull’s eye in every aspect: as a standalone listen, as a musical composition and as a companion for the movie. I am expecting it to reach the top 10 when the month is over.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 44

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:

Braille

Triangle

Farewell

Cold Bathtub

Discovery

Sudden Turn

unfaithful

Car Wash

Burning Pictures

Together

Silence

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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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2 Comments

  1. hiddeninbasement 2nd January 2018

    What other albums similar to this one do you know according to “It is a gorgeous theme in the style of 70s or 80s French romance movies.” in text. I would love to know.. I am already addicted to “Unfaithful” soundtrack!

    Reply
    1. Mihnea Manduteanu 6th January 2018

      Well usually the European composers, Morriconne especially, write in that sound. Look for Polish composers month on my site as well.

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