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Soundtrack review: Everest (Dario Marianelli – 2015)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Everest (Dario Marianelli – 2015)


I’ve seen the exciting trailers for “Everest” all summer long. The movie is a 2015 New Zealand-American 3D biographical disaster drama and adventure thriller film based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster It’s directed by Baltasar Kormákur and has a stellar cast composed of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Definitely my kind of movie. Dario Marianelli wrote the score and I approach this one with caution both because this is a composer I haven’t really been able to connect with so far and because he’s more of a romantic kind of guy, not epic disaster drama.

Ah but yes…why did I jump to conclusions….a drama score can be quiet and evocative if it plays the human factor or the respect and fear of the mountain. The opening of the score, “The call” is a mournful echo of a cue that instantly gets under my skin and makes me care for the composition. There’s a Celtic vibe in there that gets to me. There’s a wonderful feeling inside me as the score progresses because Dario Marianelli’s music is soft and warm as butter and it caresses my ears. The Celtic instruments accompany me on this journey with a joyous and optimistic sound. I get so addicted to this mood that whenever the music is different and it settles for nice I get impatient. I need cues like “Starting the ascent” to make me feel like I am part of this story. There’s something about that mood, those strings, that reminds me of Christopher Young’s “The shipping news”.

There is a very thin line between the cues I like and the ones I will forget. Sometimes the subtle female voice humming makes the difference and makes me love a cue…Dario Marianelli’s music is like the light playing tricks on a mountain top: sometimes the cloud and the sun combine in such a way that the reflection shows be a surreally beautiful image while the next second I see something quite bland and regular in the same place and the beauty gets lost.

“Everest” is a much more subtle and subdued score than I would have expected. This is the kind of composition that needs a couple of listens to really sink in and it’s going to get them from me. I’m sure I’ll discover much more upon further listening.

Cue rating: 85 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 49

Album excellence: 42%


The Call

Setting Off From Kathmandu

Starting The Ascent

Someone Loves Us

Last Words

Beck Gets Up



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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