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Soundtrack review: The interview (Henry Jackman – 2015)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The interview (Henry Jackman – 2015)


“The interview” caused a monstrous stir and scandal when it (didn’t) come out. Seth Roget and James Franco’s tasteless comedy about a plot to assassinate the North Korean dictator was pulled from the cinemas after threats from North Korea and after a hack exposed countless personal emails and documents from Sony, the company which was supposed to release the movie. It might all have been a giant publicity hoax in the end, anyway, we’re here to talk about the music and this movie benefited from a composition by Henry Jackman. Even so, I imagined the taste of the movie might make it hard for me to enjoy the music. Luckily the composer closed his eyes and probably got a carte blanche from the producers to write however he wanted. The result was way above my expectations.

I got that from the get go. The opening track”Kim-Jong un” is surprising for me. There’s not a trace of comedy in it, it’s serious and almost depressing. After all the hype about the movie I guess I wasn’t expecting a shred of seriousness in it. This first cue is Russian heavy. “Me so sorry” is the next track and I’m sure this will be something silly and comedic…Except it’s not. It’s another tense piece that makes me think of a completely different movie. Same with “Operation Dong beetle”. I imagine that in the context of the movie the music is quite ironic. I remember though that even “Naked gun” had some serious and suspenseful cues on it so I guess it’s OK. “The interview” is about a covert mission and Henry Jackman’s score reflects that.

“Backdoor rendez vous” is downright chilling. I keep expecting a punch line at the end of it but it doesn’t come. The composer is dead serious on this one. “Guns and girls” is the first cue that connects me to the atmosphere I imagine for the movie. It turns silly after a few seconds and I almost welcome it.

“Skylark discovers the truth” is a statement on how good Henry Jackman can write. The cue is emotional with a shadow of the sound of black and white dramas and a soft piano that hits the spot. I feel connected to the music and I love it that I can enjoy this dramatic piece with no connection to the silly movie. “The wrath of Kim” is vintage Henry Jackman action music and I’ve already found way more on this score than I bargained for. Am I in fact listening to a James Bond chase scene ? I can almost see a hero jumping off a building on a moving car and rolling of it to catch a bad guy.

“So long Look” actually sounds like a heartfelt goodbye while “Grand finale” brings back the opening theme. Game, set and match Henry Jackman.

Of course after this I didn’t even consider not listening to the bonus tracks on this release, the score for another Seth Rogen brain child “This is the end”. Now that movie I intend to see because I thought the trailer was hilarious. The music, one again, takes seriously what the filmmaker mocks. The theme of this movie is an apocalypse in LA and that’s what we get in the music: over the top choirs, loud and stabbing rhythms and a lot of suspense.

La La Land Records did us a favor with this release and I must admit I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much.

Cue rating: 80 /100

Total minutes of excellence: 10  / 35

Album excellence: 27%


Skylark Discovers The Truth (from “The interview”)
The Wrath Of Kim (from “The interview”)

Grand Finale (from “The interview”)

The Final Rapture (from “This is the end”)


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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