Film scores

Soundtrack review: Red Krokodil (Alexander Cimini – 2014)

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„Red Krokodil” portrays on the big screen the story of a Krokodil-addict that suddenly finds himself alone in post-nuclear city reminiscing of Chernobyl, whose physical decay caused by the massive intake of drugs develops parallel to that of his inner world. Sounds like a lot of fun. A hallucinatory movie like this though is a very fertile ground for a composer. I had missed this score last year and composer Alexander Cimini was kind enough to send me a copy. Right from the cover I was some of my favorite words to see in relation to a movie score: cello, violin, piano, solo. Bring it on…

The opening title „C-age” doesn’t have any of that but it makes for a raw introduction into this world. It sits right up there with the most hopeless and dark horror cues I’ve heard this past year. This cue convinces you to take it seriously and might tear you way from whatever goes on around you. It lures you away and scares you but it’s only a test because the world you enter is completely different…

…if the opening scared me, “Red Krokodil main theme” took me into its arms and Sebastiano Severi’s Cello moves me and makes me drop my guard. The first half of this theme sends me back to some of my favorite Morricone compositions. It gives me the same feeling of joy, safety and gratitude. It has that unmistakable bold beauty of Italian compositions. I would recognize the origin of this beauty without knowing where the composer comes from. The theme changes mood halfway through and the cello gives way to the piano and violin and 5 minutes into this theme the chords of my heart are synching with the piano strokes I hear…”Red Krokodil main theme” is all about honesty and emotion. I feel it and believe it.

The violin solos are performed by Roberto Noferini and I could swear I was hearing Perlman in “Alone”. The same heartbreak and those piercing string variations that make me tear up almost instantly. This is as pure as loneliness can get. “My wounded body” is as beautiful as an Italian sculpture of a wounded body. The way it sounds make me think of “La pieta”. The composer looks at this wounded body with an almost religious reverence and the violin seems to be winning the dialogue of my favorite instruments in this score. It actually makes me forget all about other instruments after I listen to “My little green crocodile”

The score has moments when it seems as hallucinatory as the movie…the visions of beauty and heartbreak are suddenly replaced by eeriness.  “Endless roads” is something I would like to pursue and hear more of. I am such a huge fan of ambient music and this cue is right up my alley. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

“Red Krokodil” is the kind of score you get lost in. This will not work as background music because it takes you over from the inside. You forget what you were doing before listening to it. The music quiets down all the noises and voices inside you and replaces them with the fire of passion. Just listen to “Reflection in the water”: it’s compositions like this one that convince me that violin is my favorite instrument to hear in a score. It’s a neverending fight with the piano but when a composer and a soloist find the synergy I hear in this particular cue it’s hard for me to consider that something could top the beauty and emotion of the timeless violin.

I love a score that makes me lose my objectivity. I loved this score. It was like a vision of spring coming to defrost the world and help it get born again. It made me dream and imagine things and showed me just how beautiful and honest music can be. This is supposed to be a heartbreaking drama about the effects of drugs? Well the score dealt with the illusions induced by the drug and they are beautiful and inviting. I heard just passion and love in this score. Except the first cue I was never afraid or worried. I was just happy. The music was a journey into a world with no limits.

“Vision” is the best word to describe “Red Krokodil”. It shook me and stimulated my imagination. The score had the same effect on me that reading a great novel for hours at a time used to. These 40 some minutes were as rich as 300 pages of a book and I am grateful that I got to listen to them. I will surely keep this score close. Grazie!

Cue rating: 95 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 32 / 43

Album excellence: 74%

Highlights:

  1. Red Krokodil Main Theme
  2. Alone
  3. My Wounded Body
  4. My Little Green Crocodile
  5. Endless Roads  **
  6. Reflection In The Water
  7. Prologue
  8. The Window
  9. Passion And Love?

 

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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