Film scores

Soundtrack review: Sleepwalking in the rift (Dan Romer – 2013)

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“Sleepwalking in the rift” is a 2013 short film about a young woman who on her first visit to East Africa, crosses paths with the Ranger charged with being her guide. They have something in common and when they meet, a light within them both begins to flicker. Normally I wouldn’t have minded this movie but two names attached to it shined: director Cary Fukunaga, who gave us the first season of “True Detective” and composer Dan Romer, who can do no wrong for me. The two of them also worked on 2015’s “Beasts of no nation” and that score is one of my favorites of the year.

When a score opens with a sad and poignant cue like “Just before morning” it has my attention. I know this mood, I know what the music tells me: this is a story which is very intimate to someone. We will have the privilege of being able to look inside a soul and see all the colors and shades that reside there through the courtesy of this wonderful composer. The character doesn’t know we’re inside so she doesn’t need to hide. But we are there… the soul is exposed through the music and we can tell from inside when she frowns…when she smiles at the sight of something… when she hurts or when she remembers. It might get lonely in there, we might feel a chill every now and then but we signed up for this journey and we need to stay strong.

“Sleepwalking in the rift” is the kind of score that makes me reflect. It’s the kind of intelligent minimalistic composition and says so much with so little…and I think Dan Romer uses here more instruments than I’ve heard him use in his other score and still his music is unique and I could recognized it anytime. We get a tango from him as the music dares more.

The only regret I have is that the score once again is too short…this composition deserved more. We get a glimpse inside that soul but we don’t choose how long we stay inside. Suddenly we are pulled out and the story remains unfinished. I will look for the rest in other Dar Romer compositions. This score helped cement his place among my very favorite composers.

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 25

Album excellence: 85%

Highlights:

Just Before Morning

An Old Fashioned Man

Starting to Rain

The Garden

A House Forgotten

Bicycles and Flasks

I Have What I Have

Parting in the Sunrise

Final Minutes and the Mountains

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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