Film scores

Soundtrack review: Dark places (Gregory Tripi & BT – 2015)

darkplaces

“Dark places” is no metaphor this time. The story in this movie seems to take dark to a new dimension. It is time for Charlize Theron to abuse herself once again and this time play a sole survivor of a massacre that killed her mother and sisters. She testified against her own brother as she suspected a Satanic cult was to blame. 25 years later she is still haunted and has to revisit those memories and sensations as a group of people driven by morbid curiosity look once again into the case and try to prove that her brother was innocent. The score was written by Gregory Tripi and BT. I know BT from the other most depressing Charlize Theron movie, her Oscar winning “Monster”. The cues are almost evenly divided, six for BT and seven for Gregory Tripi.

The first BT cue “A meanness inside me” somehow sends me back to the atmosphere in one of my favorite scores from recent years, “Oblivion”. I catch the tail of those feelings and don’t let go because this deep, dark atmospheric goodness is one of the most precious sounds to me. I get lost in in, I cover myself in it as if it was the only blanket that could keep the outside world away from me. I hide in this invisibility cloak and stay alone with my thoughts and memories. Could I have finally found another “Oblivion”, so soon? BT continues to feed my illusion with “The days”. This one goes even deeper… the composer turns the drill over and over again and another couple of cues like these two and I won’t be able to remove that drill from my heart.

Gregory Tripi comes in with a different, sharper kind of atmospheric. It feels like this score is a far away deserted planet I’ve made home and BT’s cues are the feelings inside my improvised layer while Gregory Tripi’s compositions come when I am outside of the hut. I am still all alone with my thoughts and demons but in slightly different circumstances.

Do not expect the score to match the horrific nature of the story. There is darkness in the music but not the kind that will make you want to slash your wrists; the darkness in this score is bearable, melodic and strangely appealing, at least to me. Could it be because this place is so familiar and comfortable for me? I am more drawn towards the atmospheric part of film music and whenever a score like this comes along I am just giddy and I never want it to end. “Dark places” makes itself comfortable in some not so dark places inside me and I am just adrift and at peace listening to this score.

“Dark places” is deep, intense minimalistic film music at its best. The two composers involved did an exceptional job and this is one score I will return to over and over again. It will go in my special reflective category with Oblivion, Broadchurch, Sunshine and other similar gems. There’s also a little homage to the latest Hans Zimmer / Junkie XL percussion sound I love so much. Careful though: you won’t be able to keep doing what you are doing when you listen to this score. It will allocate all your brain cells towards inner reflection…

Cue rating: 99 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 39 / 41

Album excellence: 96%

Highlights:

A Meanness Inside Me (BT)

The Days (BT)

Are You In? (BT)

It All Ends with Him (Gregory Tripi)

Flashes of Ben (BT)

A Dark Place (Gregory Tripi)

Devil’s Rush (Gregory Tripi)

I’m Sad for You, Little Girl (Gregory Tripi)

Your Brother Needs You (Gregory Tripi)

The Day Blood (BT)

The Angel of Debt (BT)

Forgive Me Libby (Gregory Tripi)

 

 

 

 

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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