Film scores

Soundtrack review: A dark reflection (Moritz Schmitatt – 2015)

A-Dark-Reflection-film-premiere-UK-630x351

„A dark reflection” is a new thriller co-written by a former British Airways Captain, an investigative movie based on real events. Two investigative journalists investigate a serious in-flight incident known as ‘Flight 313’. Soon they realize this is not a single event but aviation’s biggest cover-up dating back to 1954. Going up against powerful airline owners, the duo risk their lives to discover the truth and expose it to all who fly. Composer Moritz Schmitatt is a name new to me. The subject of the movie could open a lot of possibilities for an interesting score.

The start is powerful and surprising: famous Algerian singer Khaled vocalizes a far away cry on “A global story”. The music then throws us right in the middle of the action. I feel as if I’m listening to a Bourne score with that rhythm and those electronic pulses. Actually I feel as if I’m listening to how I imagined a Bourne score should have sounded like. This is the kind of action Moritz Schmitatt opens with. I didn’t have time to properly adjust my headphones; I wasn’t expecting such a frantic beginning, “A dark reflection” grabs my attention right from the start. The vocal inserts return and make the cue almost haunting in some moments. In seven minutes the music has time to develop and give us, hopefully, an overview of what will follow in the rest of the score.

The pace slows down a bit in the next couple of cues, “Investigative journalism” and “Not ruthless enough” which are rather generic action pieces. “Unquestioning loyalty” gets serious and moody and I pay attention to a cue like this. It asks me to follow it in the shadows and all it leaves as a trail for me are crumbs of piano. It leads me into another Middle Eastern vocal cue, the emotional and almost mournful “Captain David Morris”. It’s a piercing motif which makes me wonder what scene it completes. It must be a tragic moment.

The score feels a bit uneven in its first half. It doesn’t sustain the momentum created by the great cues. The action has trouble retuning to the relentless pace of the opening. I also seem to have trouble connecting with cues like “The mission had to come first” or “Stealing data” because they stop just when I thought I had caught an idea in them.

When the pace slows down though and the elegiac vocalizations return, “A dark reflection” shines. “Video message” is dark and heavy and I can imagine what the message must contain…        I can’t connect to the normal action cues though. Maybe my expectations after the opening track got too big. The music is suspenseful but not gripping and the action is light. The music probably gets like this so the viewer can focus on the on screen story.

“Taking the sample” shows the action potential of this score. The pace returns to where it should be and I wish “A dark reflection” had more moments like this and the pounding “Laboratory” instead of the more generic sounding “Sick aircrew”. “The power of the media” cuts into flesh with the strings and piano and gives me the depth I needed from the music. It’s a downward spiral with no end and a beautifully constructed cue.

“A dark reflection” could have been much better for me then it was. It had moments of brilliance which made others seem (maybe unjustly) forgettable. It did convince me of the gravity and depth of the story it was written for.

Cue rating: 77 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 48

Album excellence: 31%

Highlights:

A global story

Captain David Morris

Video Message

Laboratory

The Power Of The Media

 

 

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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