Film scores

Soundtrack review: Operation Arctic (Trond Bjerknes – 2014)

The “End credits”, with the mermaid’s voice and the gentle strings bids farewell to that winter island and leaves a wonderful echo of this score.

 

“Operation Arctic” is a Norwegian movie about the adventures of three children who are left alone in a winter storm on an island. They must survive and face all the dangers there. The score is written by a Norwegian composer, Trond Bjerknes. I haven’t heard anything from him until now.

The “Opening scene” is cold and unforgiving. It’s a statement on how the entire score is going to be and it makes you realize what the three children are in for. The cold is conveyed through carefully written electronic parts. The beauty of the Arctic Circle is played with haunting female vocals in the background while its mystery is brought to our ears with superb atmospheric cues like “Julia understands” and “Northern lights”. These cues simply make you think about the vastness of nature and the beauty of the spirit. I am a big fan of ambient music and these cues really hit the spot. “The North Pole” is another track that resonates through the chambers of my heart and brings back a wave of feelings, memories and desires. An electronic motif like this connects with my earliest music memories from almost 30 years ago.

These atmospheric cues are merely a break from the tense atmosphere of the score. The tension is palpable; I get worried for those kids when I hear the music. But hope prevails, and when I hear a cue like “To the ice” I just want to take it and put it in my pocket to have with me every day. It’s just one minute, but Trond Bjerknes makes it count. It’s beautiful and heartwarming.

The “End credits”, with the mermaid’s voice and the gentle strings bids farewell to that winter island and leaves a wonderful echo of this score. I might just replay it come winter…

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 42

Album excellence: 47%

 

Highlights:

The Flight

Sindre Is Sad

Into The Water

Julia Understands

Northern Lights

The North Pole

No Food

To The Ice

End Credits

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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