Film scores

Soundtrack review: Tom Sawyer and Huckeberry Finn (Robery Gulya – 2015)

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are two of the most beloved characters in American literature. Their adventures have captured audiences for decades and Mark Twain’s classical novel has been one of the most talked about. In this newest adaptation the two heroes, now teenagers, witness a murder and must keep the secret in order to stay alive. But when an innocent man is sentenced to death, things change. The score was written by Robert Gulya, a Hungarian composer I wasn’t familiar with.

The main theme written for the two characters is a gentle blend of Western and adventure. You can tell that this cue was written for two teenagers who love to play and explore. The music is beautiful and unimposing; it flows just like the wind through those plains on a clear day. “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” is melodic and light but has some moments when the mood gets serious enough to make those kids stop and consider what they are doing. It’s the kind of opening which puts me in a good mood.

The “Main title” continues on the same note. You can tell this is a Western setting but the music is still written as if seen through the eyes of our two heroes. I like the way Robert Gulya’s score makes me feel. It makes me smile and it also inspires me. This cue brings a theme that shows the characters are not really kids anymore. It has a sense of adventure that shows a little more bravery and wish for discovery. The sound makes me remember my own summers of exploration while I was growing up. It’s a very nice feeling to have.

The composer also very intelligently blended the styles in his music. When you are at the age our main heroes are mood and thoughts can change very fast. We get Western, we get adventure, we get a little drama, we get suspense but they all flow together very nicely.

The theme from the “Main title” plays hide and seek with us all through the score. It’s good and catchy though and I recognize it every time as if it was a friend I meet every now and then in the park. This is the best thing about “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn”: it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. It serves the story, the characters and even if you don’t know the plot of the movie or don’t care about it, the very idea of these two names fits with what you hear in the music. And if you happen to listen to this score in the right mood, it will be a very nice ray of light.

If you are looking for a score to make you smile and maybe remind you of the stride and sense of adventure you had as a kid, “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” is right for you. I don’t imagine anyone not enjoying this one. Robert Gulya delivered a very feel good composition for a sunny day.

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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