Film scores

Soundtrack review: The left behind (Andre Barros – 2015)

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This score is deep and beautiful like a mountain lake in the beginning of autumn. Listen to it and I’m sure you will find something that will touch you.

“The left behind” is a 2015 drama directed by Oliver Salk. Three boarding school students fight to understand the tragic and ambiguous suicide of their closest friend, Finn. I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet but I did listen to the score written by Andre Barros who impressed me last year with his wonderful composition for “Le jardin d’Ewald”.

I’ve listened to hundreds and hundreds of film scores and I’ve long since felt what my favorite sounds are. There are scores that I connect instantly with because they are written in a certain mood, with a certain depth and they just hit me right where I am most sensitive. When a score begins with the rolling piano trying to counter the sadness and mourning of the violin and when that cue also has a vocal insert that gives me shivers, I am a happy film music fan. “Finn’s death and opening credits” makes me happy and grateful to be able to listen to it. I love the piano. The piano is my favorite instrument and the piano here takes me through a whirlwind of emotions and doesn’t allow me to move on without listening to it again. This was just the start because the solo piano on “Ismene’s windows” is even better. I don’t need more than the piano because this instrument makes me feel like no other. And Andre Barros sure knows how to play it…

Actually even if I don’t need more, the next best thing and very close in my preferences as an instrument is the violin. There never was a better company for the piano and the soulful and quiet dialogue between these two instruments just puts a blanket of sadness around me in “Remembering Finn’s death”. I am more and more addicted to the sadness in this score and I feel as if I’m somehow able to see inside someone who is mourning someone dear.

Every note from this score cuts a little deeper in my heart and I don’t think I need to see the movie to realize what the story is about and to feel what the director would like to communicate. Through Andre Barros’ amazing music I am part of that world and I feel both the emptiness of the place where someone is no more and the fulfillment of having had that person in my life.

“The left behind” is not only about that though. The composer takes a different road and brings some very tense moments in cues like “John’s workout” or “John and Ismene’s rooftop fight”. There’s also that wonderful minimalism I am almost addicted to in a piece like “John, Charlie and Ismene fight”. This 11 minutes long ambient cue makes me think of Brian Eno and his suites. I get lost in it and I love that feeling of being out of time.

The variety of emotions and the way he wrote the different shades and degrees of darkness in “The left behind” show me that I wasn’t wrong in taking notice of Andre Barros. This score is deep and beautiful like a mountain lake in the beginning of autumn. Listen to it and I’m sure you will find something that will touch you. Me, I don’t know what I liked more, the ambient pieces or the piano. I guess I’ll have to listen to the score again. Over and over again.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 50

Album excellence: 70%

Highlights:

Finn’s Death and Opening Credits

Ismene’s Windows

Remembering Finn’s Death

John and Ismene’s Hilltop Romance

Ismene’s Rooftop Poetry

John, Charlie and Ismene’s Fight

Finn and Charlie’s Last Conversation

Ismene Back on the Roof

Light and Shadow

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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