Film scores

Soundtrack review: Stranded (Stanislas Syrewicz – 2002)

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“Stranded” is a stylish and entertaining two-part television adaptation of The Swiss Family Robinson, originally produced for Hallmark. The 2002 version starred actor Liam Cunningham, Brana Bajic, Emma Pierson, Andrew Lee Potts, Neil Newbon and Jesse Spencer as the self-reliant family who discover an exotic paradise while being threatened by pirates. The score was written by Polish composer Stanislas Syrewicz and I’m always up for hearing someone from that brilliant school of film music.

The score start very seriously and doesn’t waste time in getting us used to the temperature of the water. The first two cues are cloudy and aggressive and there is a sense of urgency in the music. The score could have easily been adventurous and fun but the composer chose to focus on the danger and drama in the story. The music is elegiac and almost suitable for a religious drama, not an adventure movie. But I expected this… this is a Polish composer and they are a special kind of musicians with a special sensitivity and taste for the dark and dramatic.

Even if the music is enjoyable something is keeping me from connecting with this score. I feel it distant and cold and I can’t find anything to relate to. Even when the pace changes as the story gets to exploring the island I still stay away. “Stranded” lives in a world of its own and it is hard for me to enter. The music is beautiful and honest, it reminds me of some of the golden age dramatic scores in some moments but I feel far away from it.

I am grateful when the gentle flute of “Island run” comes along to sooth me. I am usually up for dark music but this time maybe my mood wasn’t right, because I feel as if I was saved by the innocence of a cue like this. The heavy, golden age sound returns and it really is my mood because it feels as ifi am eating a very heavy and indigest meal that I normally would have enjoyed. This time it’s a little too much for me.

I need to promise this score that I will return to it when I’m in a different mood. This is the kind of score I was supposed to like, this is the kind of heavy darkness I usually can relate to. I will surely give it another listen in a few months and check if my feelings have changed.

Cue rating: 81 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 64

Album excellence: 10%

Highlights:

Island Run

Chasing Emily

Make Certain Of It / End Credits

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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