TV

Soundtrack review: Dr Foster (Frans Bak – 2015)

Doctor_Foster_Original_Television_Soundtrack

We’ve gotten quite a few BBC drams scores this year and I’ve enjoyed almost every one. It’s time now for “Doctor Foster”, a drama with an intelligent, empowered woman at its center – one with a huge battle on her hands, both in her personal and professional life. Danish composer Frans Bak wrote the score and he’s the guy who wrote the mesmerizing score for the original “The killing”.

After a mellow piano opening the composer introduces us into the action with “Discovering”. I sense great potential in this score when I hear the cue. It alternates between pulsating and dramatic and either one of these directions could work for me. Of course Frans Bak chooses the dramatic for now and “Lost and alone” is the first truly dark piece of this score. It also includes a section which sounds like a heart beating heavily and a female voice humming. Once again it’s a cue made from very beautiful parts but they don’t necessarily go well together.

“Is this for real” uses the same ingredients except this time the deep cello and the heartbeat finally go together well and I have the first moment when I connect with the score. There’s a buildup which feels like a huge boulder rolling behind me, catching speed. I’m having contradictory thoughts about “Doctor Foster” as the cues go by… some moment mean nothing to me while a piano theme like “At the restaurant” gives me a warm embrace and reminds me of some moments of “The X-Files”. Then immediately after comes a gripping pulsating cue like “Connecting the dots” and the score doesn’t build up momentum from either of the moods it plays.

It’s a bit frustrating that the score breaks its beautiful moods so often. The music is good…the parts are enjoyable but somehow when all of them are put together something doesn’t feel right. I wonder if the TV show is as ambivalent. There are enough moments I love but very few of them are entire cues. There are bits and pieces that I wish would have been better developed and there are also moments I will easily forget. In the end I think all I’ll be left with is a murky atmosphere and few beautiful piano themes. The small dose of “The X-files” and “Millennium” nostalgia brought on by a few moments from “Doctor Foster” also keeps me intrigued and I think I am going to need a second listen at some point to truly make up my mind about this one.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 12 / 43

Album excellence: 28%

Highlights:

Is This For Real?

At The Restaurant

Going Home

A Toast For Gemma

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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