Soundtrack review: The night manager (Victor Reyes – 2016)
“The Night Manager” is a British-American television miniseries directed by Susanne Bier and starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, David Harewood, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki. It is based on the 1993 novel of the same name by John le Carré and has been updated to the present day. Former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) is recruited by Angela Burr, an intelligence operative. He is tasked to navigate Whitehall and Washington, D.C. where there is an alliance between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. He must infiltrate the inner circle of arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Hugh Laurie), Roper’s girlfriend and associate Corkoran. With a cast like this I would watch even the weather report. Victor Reyes wrote the score and I know him from “The grand piano” which I loved.
The first few cues are setup cues for me. I feel as if I am peaking behind the curtains at the theater where the props people are putting together the décor of the play we are about to see. They are putting dark shades at the windows and turning off all the lights. Then they populate the setting with shadows and discomfort. The mood changes at the fourth cue but only because (surprise) it includes the end credits. “Suspicious mind” grabs me and throws me in the middle of the menacing action and I instantly wish there was more of that in the score.
And yet the mysterious mist that Victor Reyes controls in this album is starting to feel comfortable to me. I listen to “Maybe you killed her” and feel that I finally found a way into the music. It’s strange because I don’t feel like the music found a way into me but the other way around as if it took me longer to connect to the brilliance which was already there and to understand what the composer wanted to communicate. “A proper villa” seals the deal for me with a spectacularly dark waltz.
“The night manager” is the kind of score that asks for the images. I listen to it and I want to see the movie, I want to open my eyes and see what this music completes. I feel blindfolded and curious as the score goes on. The music creates and atmosphere but doesn’t really populate it with characters and I need them for a better listening experience. Or I could just forget about the story and populate this inviting and rich atmosphere with figments of my own imagination.
Victor Reyes provides the dark and silky canvas for a gripping thriller to develop on. Some moments work very well on their own; others feel like they work better in the background. As always his use of the piano is remarkable. Either way I enjoyed listening to this score and I am curious to see the movie.
Cue rating: 88 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 53
Album excellence: 39%
The Night Manager Main Titles
Suspicious Mind (Including End Credits)
Maybe You Killed Her
A Proper Villa
In the Same Hotel
Back to Cairo