Film scores

Soundtrack review: Stonewall (Rob Simonsen – 2015)

stonewall-soundtrack_1400

Stonewall is a 2015 American drama film. The plot revolves around the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the violent clash that kicked off the gay rights movement in New York City. The drama centers on Danny Winters, who flees to New York, leaving behind his sister. He finds his way to the Stonewall Inn, where he meets Trevor before catching the eye of Ed Murphy, manager of the Stonewall. He colludes with corrupt police and exploits homeless youth. It’s directed by Roland Emmerich who usually does disaster movies and the score is written by one of my favorite current composers, Rob Simonsen.

Now this doesn’t seem like a story suite for what I’ve grown to love in Simonsen’s minimalistic and relaxing music. The chills I get from the opening notes of “Danny” while still recognizing the quiet guitar vibes he usually charms me with show me that I was quick to judge. The composer just added an extra layer of sadness in the way the guitar is strummed and dimmed the lights of his sound. Then the piano joins in as usual and I recognize the comfort of the Rob Simonsen blanked of sound.

That’s all there is here, really. If you know and like this composer, the score will please you. There are no surprises here but with Simonsen I don’t even need them. I come here for the sweet and innocent vibes that make me think of warm campfires or relaxing Sunday afternoons in the park. I come here to let the guitar sounds caress my skin as if they were the heat coming from the sun and I come for the quiet piano notes with are as gentle as the warm water of the sea.

And the story is served as well because as soon as the riots begin the guitar sounds get rawer, grungier and I can hear the discomfort in the music. The transition to that sound is very natural though and I don’t feel a disturbance in the flow of the music.

“Stonewall” is short and sweet and another gem from one of the composers I get most excited about. Can’t wait for anything he writes!

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 17

Album excellence: 35%

Highlights:

Aren’t You My Friend Danny

Cinderella

Unfinished Business

 

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).

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment