Film scores

Soundtrack review: Pressure (Benjamin Wallfisch – 2015)

pressure

Benjamin Wallfisch is one of the composers I get the most excited about. He’s established himself as someone whose music makes its way inside me and finds familiar places to connect with. He always gets emotions right and leaves me affected once the score is over. His scores for “Bhopal: A prayer for rain” and “Desert dancer” are among my favorites of this year. It’s time for “Pressure” now, a movie that follows the adventures of four men who are tasked with fixing an oil pipeline under the sea. Once they get separated from their ship, the group must first survive in a small pod on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, then figure out a way to get back to the surface with no outside assistance.

The mix of orchestral and electronic takes my hand right from the start. This is an almost unique sound that Benjamin Wallfisch has developed and which I can instantly recognize. “Rain” makes sure that I know who wrote this score. It’s that dark silence that always gets to me. It’s the silence that says more than 1000 words. I feel comfortable with this music, I like it and I want to spend time with it.

Soon it hides from the though, that sound I like so much. It disappears in a bunch of purely electronic cues that seem to smother the emotion the score had when it started. My expectations are very high and this means I frown at some cues. Luckily something like “Ocean emergency” comes on and makes me feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic and it reminds me of the “Alien” score. This might not be the Benjamin Wallfisch I was expecting but it sure it gripping. The atmosphere the cue creates is dense and overwhelming and I feel like part of the story.

The horror mood continues and the score gets interesting. I hear crackling sounds and I feel all sorts of creatures crawling around me, trying to get to me. Under that electronic surface lies a world of atmospheric wonders I am happy to discover. Cues are like glowing jellyfish that make me dislike what I see when they are gone. I’m not fond of all the cues but when something like “Descent ascent” comes along I bow to the brilliance of this composer. This is the kind of epilogue cue that makes any score worthwhile. Space or the deep sea, this cue evokes a vast and mysterious territory through which we are flying in a rush. Look for it on my list of best cues of 2015 for sure.

While not Benjamin Wallfisch’s best score of 2015, “Pressure” serves the story right and makes me feel like part of that teams of man stranded at the bottom of the ocean.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 28

Album excellence: 53%

Highlights:

Ocean Emergency

Jellyfish

Truth

Descent Ascent

Final Swim

 

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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