Film scores

Soundtrack review: Unforgotten (Michael Price – 2015)

“Unforgotten” is a 6 part ITV miniseries. Starring Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar as detectives investigating a ‘cold’murder case of 39 years ago. When the bones of a young man are found beneath the footings of a demolished house, an investigation begins that will unravel the lives of four people who have been waiting for this moment for nearly forty years, as they discover that the past can’t, and won’t, stay buried forever. Silva Screen records had made its mission to bring to us scores of every British TV show and I am very fond of this. The composer is Michael Price who I know from “The inbetweeners 2”.

I always expect the score of a British TV show to be moody and elegant. This one starts no differently but there’s a twist…an electronic echo which attracts me right away. I’m always in for an electronic influenced score, even if it’s risky: it could get generic very fast. Here, the wailing of the strings keep the opening theme fresh and mysterious.

The score stays afloat with its simple piano vibes until it sinks into that lovely atmospheric place I could stay in forever with “A mother”. The texture of this score is obvious and it rarely changes. There’s nothing loud in here, nothing aggressive to the ears. The music is soft an alluring. The darkness it stays in is comfortable and every time there’s a surge from the electronic part, an orchestral motif, usually string based, comes to tone it down.

I wish the electronic parts were warmer though. I am having trouble connecting with cues like “A crisis of faith” because it’s quite cold. But I can never turn my back on an electronic piece. This tone and shadow keeps me invested in the score even if I realize it is too shy to make in impact. The composer had a clear idea of where he wanted to go with the music but for me it stays too much in the background to be a very rewarding standalone listen. This is the kind of undertone that I imagine works very well in the context of the movie. I didn’t get lost in this score and it didn’t make me stop whatever I was doing to pay attention to it. It worked very well as background music but I found myself quite often drifting out of it and then coming back to find the same sound.

And then comes the end section which subtly changes tone and goes to my soft spot…”Lies and evasions”, “A darker rain” are not cues I would take with me on a deserted island because they would make me feel even lonelier, but they are cues I will listen to again on a rainy autumn afternoon. With gems like these the score is saved. Something came out of the shadows, in the rain, took me by the hand and told me it was going to be alright. We are in a warm, safe place which we will never leave. The thick and meaningful sadness from the final few cues have turned this score from forgettable to intimate and unforgotten to me.

Listen to the cues from “Lies and evasions” down and you will meet a composer you will want to hear from over and over again.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 28 / 53

Album excellence: 52%

Highlights:

3_a Mother

7_remembrance

11_lies And Evasions

12_a Darker Rain

13_redeemed

14_unredeemed

15_a Reckoning

16_unforgotten

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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