Film scores

Soundtrack review: Comet (Daniel Hart – 2015)

comet

Justin Long and Emmy Rossum are star-crossed lovers whose relationship blooms and unravels over the course of six years in this mysterious, dazzlingly original romance. When a chance encounter brings together the cynical Dell (Long) and the quick-witted Kimberly (Rossum), the stage is set for a tempestuous love affair that unfolds like a puzzle. As the film zigzags back and forth in time—from a meteor shower in LA, to an encounter in a Paris hotel room, to a fateful phone call—an unforgettable portrait of a relationship emerges. It’s the plot of “Comet” and the music is written by Daniel Hart.

The main theme from “Comet” gives me a strange sensation: I feel that the fact that I can easily identify some of the instruments and they are mostly rock related sort of ruins the magic of this cue. It’s just my personal opinion upon hearing this theme. It has a beautiful background sound but when I hear the drum and percussion too clearly it sort of makes it too real and I can’t dream on it anymore. I don’t know if it has to do with the way the album was produced or if it was the choice of the composer, but something didn’t feel right.

And yet this score is very intelligently written. I love the way “Five minutes from now” makes me feel. This is the kind of cue that makes me think of a chord being stroked every now and then, sometimes hard, sometimes barely touched, and vibrating in tune with my emotions. This piece of music is the water of the sea being moved by the moods of the wind and this is the kind of theme I can dream on and imagine entire worlds on. It’s the longest piece on this score and for me it alone makes the album worth buying. Add to this the magnificent ambient heaven that is “I needed you in this life” and you get an album to remember.

I like how the symphonic instruments, the strings and the piano, knit a silky net around me as I listen to this score. There’s nothing abrasive or sharp in the music of “Comet” and I feel like a toddler in a baby proof house, discovering that she (I have a little daughter so yes it’s a she) can move freely in this space without the fear of any kind of pain or discomfort. This score is about gaining confidence, about trust, about love ultimately. I hear it in moments like the quiet and gentle strokes of the violin in “Memorizing phone numbers” and I especially hear it in the heart breaking “Jill n Brian”, a theme that has a deep personal meaning to the composer, as it’s a solo piano piece he gave as a wedding gift to two of his best friend. Brian sadly passed away during the scoring of this movie. When a cue has this much meaning to the composer it transcends the movie it was written for and becomes a memory…

“Comet” is a rich and magic score of many textures. It’s minimalistic but that’s just the tip of an iceberg that goes very deep and very wide. It made me think more of the mysterious bottom of the sea than the vast outer space, but the effect was the same. Daniel Hart made me feel and understand everything he wanted to tell me and I felt every strike of the chord and every touch of a piano key.

Cue rating:

Total minutes of excellence:

Album excellence:

Highlights:

06_five Minutes From Now

08_fmk

09_memorizing Phne Numbers

10_jill ‘n Brian

11_timeless Life Painting

16_goggles

17_you Almost Had Me

18_part Of That Strange Dream

19_i Needed You In This Life

20_dell ‘n Kimberly

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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