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Soundtrack review: Sherlock Holmes (Hans Zimmer – 2010)

Composer of the month Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer month

Soundtrack review: Sherlock Holmes (Hans Zimmer – 2010)


The score for “Sherlock Holmes” is one of the most unusual Hans Zimmer has written in the past 10 or 15 years. Out of nowhere, he invented a fresh sound that made this one of his most appreciated compositions. It was nominated for an Academy Award and it lost, strangely, to Michael Giacchino’s “Up”.

I am very happy because this score has a lot of elements from our Romanian popular music. “Discombobulate”, the main theme, has an ethnic sound to it that makes it one of the most fun cues in his career. The squeaky violin that appears all through the score hits very close to home. Even the banjo is made to sound Eastern European. I never get tired of this one and I play it any time I need some cheering up. Hans Zimmer actually used a broken piano to play some of the tunes, and the effect is priceless. “I never woke up in handcuffs before” is gypsy music at its best; it would make even Emir Kusturica and Goran Bregovic envious. The end of the cue sounds as if the violin strings broke from how insanely fast they were played.

“Sherlock Holmes” is an interesting score that everyone should give a try. You haven’t heard a score like this. The violin and the piano are abused in ways you’ve rarely heard them abused, but the sounds that come out of all this madness are worth it. The movie is all about fun and Guy Ritchie’s strange filming techniques, and the music is just as wacky and brilliant.

And we have one of Hans Zimmer’s signature long suites, the 18 minutes “Psychological recovery…6 months”. I am a very big fan of this type of cues (see also Hans’ Original Sketchbook from “Man of steel”). It takes a special kind of composer to make something like this work and Hans Zimmer nails it. I’m never tired of this cue, I’m never tired of this score, “Sherlock Holmes” is a nutty and wonderful invention that worked.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 53

Album excellence: 66%



I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before

Data, Data, Data

He’s Killed The Dog Again

Not In Blood, But In Bond

Ah, Putrefaction

Panic, Shear Bloody Panic

Psychological Recovery … 6 Months

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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