documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review: The confessions of Thomas Quick (Nainita Desai and Malcolm Laws – 2015)

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Thomas Quick was thought to be the most mysterious Swedish serial killer of all times. After confessing to countless murders while in a mental institution and being convicted for eight of them bases solely on his words, he suddenly recanted his confessions and some of the alleged victims even turned up alive. He has been acquitted of everything and is free now. His case is still considered as the worst miscarriage of justice in Sweden history. His story is the subject of the documentary “The confessions of Thomas Quick” and the score was written by Nainita Desai and Malcolm Laws.

All my previous contacts with Scandinavian crime stories in movie and TV land come rushing to me head from various corners. The “Millennium” trilogy… “The Killing”… dark, stringy, heavy, bleak. My kind of sound. First though, the main theme of the documentary “The loneliness inside” makes me think of other Nordic wonders like Bjork and Royksopp with the voice of Faroese singer Eivor Palsdottir. Needless to see I like that theme.

A different kind of weather awaits me as the score starts. The strings I knew I would find are there, wailing and cutting in the background but there is the piano there which provides a very interesting contradiction. The piano is not sad. The piano is chaotic but hopeful and the piano to me shows the duality of the character’s mind. There is a little carnival like insanity in the music and I get flashes of Philip Glass in some moments. But they are just flashes. “The confessions of Thomas Quick” spends a lot of time in a sort of limbo, not daring to go further and choose a side. The music is ok but it fails to grab me. the electronic pulses that dominate some cues are rather generic and the cues pass by me like tension poles seen from the window of a fast moving train.

What the music has going for it is that constant doubt I hear. The female voice inserts and the surprising instrumentation of a cue like “First love” are interesting enough to keep me connected. The moments when the composers keep me guessing for what comes next are my favorites from this score. They are few though and the score loses me halfway through.

Instead of going deep inside a troubled soul, the score for “The confessions of Thomas Quick” focuses on the illusion of reality and keeps it light. Some moments feel more comedic than dramatic in sound. I guess my expectations were different and I couldn’t connect with this score very much.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 56

Album excellence: 4%

Highlights:

First love

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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