Film scores

Soundtrack review: Zipper (H Scott Salinas – 2015)

“Zipper” is the story of a federal prosecutor on the fast track to political success who risks his promising career and family life to indulge the ever-obsessive impulses of his secret addiction to escorts. Addiction car provide an inspiring canvas for a composer. The score for “Zipper” was written by H. Scott Salinas and he already had a remarkable score this year with “Cartel land”.

I can tell right from the start that this score won’t be for everyone. This dark and sometimes uncomfortable minimalism can put some people off. You need to listen to this score quite loud in order to get all its subtleties and nuances. I picture a movie set in the desert, a thriller with very few and very quiet characters. My fantasy doesn’t go further because the music doesn’t go further. It stays there, in the middle of that desert, like a small tornado of dust that doesn’t know in which direction to go.

The cues of “Zipper” seem faceless. They don’t have a proper identity or evoke a particular feeling most of the time. I try to pat on of these faceless strangers on the shoulder but they rarely react. “Jeannie surprises Sam” has a different color then the others. It’s sadder and more meaningful, but it’s just an exception.

Somehow this score only looks at addiction from the regret point of view. I don’t hear the excitement of the high or the desire to have more of that which rules the character’s life. The music is rather empty and only makes me feel regret and remorse. But what am I regretting? Why does this hurt? I can’t find anywhere the cause of this or the pleasure and excitement that made it all worthwhile. If only the composer would have channeled more of what makes the cue titled “Addiction” work.

Even for a fan of minimalistic music such as myself, “Zipper” was too quiet. I expected to feel more and to be moved by the perils of addiction. Instead the music didn’t tell me much. It stayed outside the door, hesitant, going back and forth until finally deciding not to knock. That’s too bad, because I was waiting for it with arms opened and the table set. I am curious how this score works in context. Maybe it will make more sense in the movie. As a standalone listen it wasn’t enough…

Cue rating: 72 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 1 / 45

Album excellence: 2%

Highlights:

Jeannie surprises Sam

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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