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Soundtrack review: Mortdecai (Geoff Zanelli & Mark Ronson – 2015)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Mortdecai (Geoff Zanelli & Mark Ronson – 2015)


„Mortdecai” is the latest Johnyy Depp experiment where he plays an eccentric art dealer. Though the cast is obvisously stellar (Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor also star) the movie flopped big time. I probably won’t watch it, but a score by Geoff Zanelli is always welcomed. He already had a very good one this year with „The Scorpion King 4” and here he is aided by intriguing and interesting producer Mark Ronson.

Even if it’s Geoff Zanelli I still approach this score with caution because silly satire scores aren’t usually my cup of tea. They’re Ok to listen to once, maybe, but they rarely stick. „Hong Kong” opens the score and it doesn’t really register with me. There are some interesting guitar beats and I guess a sense of spy like suspense but it’s more Austin Powers than James Bond.

„The farmer’s daughter” changes the sound a little and it’s better. This is funky music taken straight out of „The streets of San Francisco” or „Shaft”. I can almost see the cool hero wearing leather pants and a strange hairdo strolling down the street. I am actually digging the 70’s vibe that Mark Ronson brought to the score. It’s fun and funky and even if I know I might not return to this score it makes for an ajoyable listen. „Spinoza” make me laugh imagining what might be going on screen and I almost feel like I’m listening to music from a Tarantino movie. Something wacky is a afoot.

„Open your balls” ups the game with some Russian choirs. I also like the melodic line in this one and I imagine there was a lot of fun in the recording room for this one. Close to the end it gets adventurous with a fanfare and this will probably end up as my favorite cue from the entire score. „Con fuego” continues the geographical journey with Spanish party music. It is rather generic but still enjoyable in the moment.

The sound of „Mortdecai” is kind of unique. It’s been a while since I heard such a fresh score. It was a very interesting choice from the producers. „Mortdecai” has a clear identity even if it lacks thematic content. The music flow in the same rhythm and doesn’t have sudden spikes of energy or sound. Except „Open the balls” I would have a hard time telling one cue from the other. This way the score kinda loses me halfway through. I can do other things while listening to it because there are no more surprises.

The sound of it is worth a listen. There might be some people who will enjoy it more than I did. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

Cue rating: 75 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 8 / 40

Album excellence: 20%



Open your balls

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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