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Soundtrack review: Captive (Lorne Balfe – 2015)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Captive (Lorne Balfe – 2015)


Month number 9 of 2015 is ending and yet I am listening to Lorne Balfe’s already tenth score of the year. It’s mind blowing when you think of it especially when you consider the level of quality of all his scores from this year. The man is on a hot streak, in the zone, call it whatever you will but since he is one of my favorite composers I can only be happy about it. So far “Terminator Genisys” and his three biographical scores have impressed me the most this year. It’s time now for “Captive”a 2015 American crime-drama thriller film directed by Jerry Jameson and written by Brian Bird and Reinhard Denke, based on the non-fiction book Unlikely Angel by Ashley Smith. A true story about Brian Nichols, who escapes from the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta on March 11, 2005 and holds Smith as a hostage.

The way this score begins shows me once again why Lorne is one of the best composers out there… “An unlikely angel” is a gorgeous and poignant atmospheric piece that Brian Eno himself would be proud of. Can I just stop time right here and stay in this state a little longer? I would love a score that sounded entirely like that. Lorne isn’t a guy to risk getting repetitive so he switches the sound a bit turning it into a stringy and addictive affair. He uses some African based sounds to play the tension for the next few cues. He doesn’t fall into the generic trap though. It sounds as if Lorne is the film music world equivalent of a jazz player because he improvises and plays with the sounds and we get a cue like “The purpose driven life” which electrocutes me from time to time. Mark this down as one of the more interesting cues he’s written this year.

I’ve mentioned it many times before and I think I should just put as asterix next to the scores and note that it’s part of the year of minimalism in film music. “Captive” rides that wave and Lorne too is keeping it quiet and minimal. This gives an extra later of tension to the music and I feel on the edge, curious, worried. The music is hypnotic and full of surprises. Lorne surely learned a thing or two from his friend Hans Zimmer because he is not afraid to experiment and go to a strange place.

The biggest surprise of “Captive” though is the almost 11 minutes long “Arrested” which almost works like a suite of the entire score. Sample this one if you want to know what the composition is all about.

Fans of atmospheric and minimalist will adore this one. But I don’t only recommend it to them. Anyone who loves film music could be attracted to this dark web that Lorne Balfe has crafted. For me this one was a joy from start to finish.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 37

Album excellence: 46%


An Unlikely Angel

The Purpose Driven Life

I Love You, Little Man

Unauthorized Entry


I Have to Leave Now

Taking a Stand

  1. Reunited
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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