documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review: Killing them safely (Brooke Blair & Will Blair – 2015)

killing-them-safely

Killing Them Safely is a 2015 Canadian-American documentary film directed by Nick Berardini. Hundreds of deaths. Zero oversight. In the early 2000s, brothers Tom and Rick Smith revolutionized policing by marketing the Taser to law enforcement agencies. This supposedly safe alternative to handguns was supposed to curb the use of deadly force—so why have over 500 people died from Taser-related injuries since? At a time when questions about police methods are at the forefront of the national dialogue, Killing Them Safely brings together startling archival footage and eye-opening interviews with experts on both sides of the debate to shed much-needed light on an urgent issue. The score is composed by Brooke Blair & Will Blair.

Documentary scores make for a special kind of listening experince. i think more than in any other film genre, the music for a documentary has to serve the on screen images 100% and not influence the viewer or intrude in any way. When I listent o a documentary score I don”t expect something epic or so emotional that it will give me goose bumps. Even if it doesn’t help the standalone listen, a documentary score should stay in the background and not try to grab me too much.

With all this in mind my expectations for “”Killing the safely”weren’t very high. So naturally in such a context I am very happy though when I discover a minimalistic gem like “Braidwood”; now this kind o cue can sit at my table anytime it wants. I like it that Brooke and Will Blair’s music doesn’t get generic. it’s minimalistic, it has a constant pulse but it tells me something; the music makes me want to see the documentary, it makes me care. “Deaths”” is the kind of investigative cue that leaves an echo behind.

As the music progresses I ease into it as if I was slowly geting my body accustomed to the temperature of the sea. The more I stay in the more I enjoy it and it’s the same with this score. Every cue is one more reason for me to go deeper and stay longer. I can imagine situations and mood when I would be inclined to return to this score and that’s quite an achievement for a documentary composition.

I enjoyed this one and fans of minimalistic music will keep it close as well. I am very curious how it sounds in context and I will definitely see the documentary.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 28 / 46

Album excellence: 60%

Highlights:

Braidwood

Deaths

History Of Taser

Butler Turner

Everybody Wants The Best

Proven Safe

We Do Sleep Well At Night

Tear Me Away

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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